In recent years, urban regeneration policy in Israel has relied largely on market-based mechanisms to deliver its goals, seemingly in keeping with neoliberal trends. Whereas, in previous decades, the construction and renovation of housing was facilitated primarily by state-run projects, current urban regeneration policy relies heavily on private actors – developers and homeowners – motivated by profit and the allocation of building rights. In this article, we argue that while this policy appears to be consistent with neoliberal trends, the Israeli government, as well as the public, in fact continue to view urban regeneration as a project of national significance, deserving of public funding if market forces should prove inadequate. We describe the unique characteristics of urban regeneration policy in Israel, arguing that they derive from ‘moral economy’ logic as well as geopolitical considerations such as national security and commitment to the periphery. We make this argument by examining urban regeneration in the country’s geographical and economic ‘periphery’, where the state is expected to finance and incentivise regeneration in the absence of market incentives. We conclude that even in a supposedly heightened neoliberal era, Israel’s regeneration policy continues to be centralised and driven by national objectives and centre–periphery relations that reproduce the country’s path-dependent development trajectory.
Bibliographical notePublisher Copyright:
© Urban Studies Journal Limited 2021.
- Israeli housing policy
- moral economy
- urban regeneration