The planning section in the Haifa municipal engineering administration has presented to the city council a strategic policy document for Neve Sha'anan, the largest neighborhood in Haifa with 44,000 residents, 15% of the city's population. According to this document, the neighborhood is planned to grow to 70,000 residents and 27,500 housing units. Architect Prof. Irit Tsaraf-Netanyahu prepared the document.
The document is interesting from a real estate perspective, because it indicates the volume of residential construction and specifies the areas for high-density construction and the types of construction that the municipality wants. At the same time, it appears that it was very important for the document's authors to restrain development and determine where and how much should be preserved.
Tsaraf-Netanyahu explains that the plan was designed to provide developers with planning certainty. "Such a plan relies mostly on correct guidance in the municipal plan, but especially on private development. It won't happen without private development. Up until now, there was no planning certainty. The plan clarified the intentions, principles, where high-density construction can be located, and where high-rises can be built."
It is important to note that the document is a declaration of policy; it is merely a guideline, and has no statutory validity. The report's authors recommend preparing detailed urban building plan later for the various areas.
Neve Sha'anan was founded 100 years ago on the eastern ridge of Haifa. The neighborhood was originally planned by the late renowned architect Richard Kauffmann, who was responsible for planning the Hadar Hacarmel neighborhood in Haifa and the Rehavia neighborhood in Jerusalem. The neighborhood developed and expanded over the years, and now covers five square kilometers containing old Neve Sha'anan, Yizre'eliya, Ziv, Neve Yosef, Ramat Remez, and Kiryat Hatechnion.
The design proposed in the strategic plan lists the main streets in the neighborhood, and states that Hanita Street and Trumpeldor Street will have multiple uses, with residential and commercial construction and an entertainment and leisure center on Shalom Aleichem Street. The plan lists Hatichon Street, Hanita Street, and Hagalil Street as a "small businesses" area.
The plan recommends that the core of Neve Sha'anan - Hagagot HaAdumim, Givat Hashavshevet, Kikar Ben Artzi, and the rear streets along Trumpeldor Street - be classed as urban fabric for preservation in which controlled building will be permitted. Also slated for preservation will be the brutalist-style buildings at 53-57 Abba Hillel Silver Street and 52-68 Hanita Street. The plan proposes a circumferential promenade marking the boundary of construction in the neighborhood, which will preserve the view of the wadis and make up for the lack of green space.
Construction will take place on streets on which two or three-story buildings are currently located, such as Trumpeldor Street, Shalom Aleichem Street, and Komoy Street, which are defined as the "heart of the urban skeleton," on which construction up to 10 storeys will be allowed. The entire area called eastern Neve Sha'anan, which contains Maimon Street, Gedalyahu Street, Hagalil Street, and Chazan Street, which features low-level apartment blocks on large lots, will undergo urban renewal. The same will be done in the Givat Hashavshevet and Remez neighborhoods. The recommended ratio is 3.5-4 new housing units for each demolished housing unit.
Tsaraf-Netanyahu says that the policy document is to bring order into urban renewal. "We took the developers' interest and channeled it elsewhere. For example, we re-parceled Givat Hashavshevet. We prevented many urban renewal projects, such as construction of high-rises on the edge of the wadi on Abba Hillel Silver Street. The idea is to channel construction into the right places and in the right proportions. This won't detract from development."
Another important element of the plan concerns transportation links, both internal and external. As part of this, the plan proposed construction of a new road network with a direct link to high-speed access roads for the neighborhood: Hashavshevet will be connected to Simha Golan, eastern Neve Sha'anan will be connected to Dori Road, etc. The plan recommends the introduction of Metronit lines (special bus lanes), which will pass through the main streets and centers in the neighborhood in order to create internal connection and a rapid connection to all centers in Haifa. The plan also recommends building a system of escalators, paths, and steps for the purpose of internal neighborhood links.
Published by Globes, Israel business news - en.globes.co.il - on February 26, 2020
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