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Einat Kalisch Rotem Haifa

“A beacon of peace and tolerance in Israel, Haifa perceives its cultural, religious and social diversity as a strategic asset, also at the economic level. Mayors play a key role in laying the foundations for economic prosperity, where no one is left behind, and where the environment and the well-being of future generations are major considerations. This is a challenge that transcends municipal and political boundaries, and I am fortunate to be part of an ever-growing community of mayors who are placing inclusiveness at the core of urban action.”

– Mayor Einat Kalisch-Rotem


Einat Kalisch-Rotem is the first female mayor to lead any of the three major cities in Israel. She assumed the Mayor’s office on November 20th 2018. Before becoming mayor, Kalisch-Rotem worked as an independent architect and urban planner. She also served in the Israel Defence Force as a research assessor in the Israel Air Force. She has a Bacehlor’s degree in architecture from Technion – Isreal Institute of Technology, a master’s degree in urban design with honors from the Technion, and completed her doctorate in urban planning at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology, ETH Zurich. She is married, has two children and a black belt in karate.

How is the
Mayor promoting
Inclusive Growth ?
Holistic Urban Regeneration

Haifa is undergoing a process of urban regeneration. The city is taking a holistic approach that combines sustainability and inclusive economic development, to implement regeneration to strengthen neglected city that have deteriorated over the years. Renewal processes have the power to reduce intra-urban socio-economic gaps and to bring prosperity to underprivileged communities. There are five key components of Haifa’s agenda of urban regeneration:

1) The renewal and strengthening of the historic Haifa urban business centre, which consists of several neighborhoods, each one different in character.

2) Enhancement of the older neighborhoods on the mountainside, with particular emphasis on the areas close to the beaches and the access from these neighborhoods to the seaside. These plans are expected to turn rundown zones into riviera neighborhoods, making Haifa a unique, unrivaled coastal city.

3) Renovation of the older top-of-the-mountain neighborhoods with special emphasis on the main urban arteries and on improving their uses according to sustainable planning standards (multiple mixed uses, support of trade and commerce, mobility, convenient walking distances, public transportation, bike paths, thickening vegetation and shading, etc.)

4) Elaboration of master plans and policies affecting public space by: improving the look of streets; encouraging mixed-use streets; reinforcing public centres that currently lack urban functions; strengthening urban nature (planting trees on main streets); changing the character of urban transportation (parking, public transportation, bicycles, escalators, etc.)

5) Interweaving urban strategies in the areas of housing, tourism, sports, innovation, sea and maritime activity, culture, etc. to turn them into part of the fabric of the programs described above.

Supporting Local SMEs

In Haifa, more then 99% of businesses are small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), with more than 93% defined as small businesses, with up to 5 employees, or self-employed people who do not have any employees. SMEs are one of the major growth engines of the local economy. Haifa considers these businesses as the solid base for the urban economy in its territory and for maintaining a thriving sustainable economy, which is essential to build the social resilience of its residents and community. For this reason, the Municipality of Haifa supports, in various ways, the activities of small businesses.

The Municipality is developing a long-term strategy that will lead to a gradual change in the structure of commercial and employment activities in Haifa, while providing support for the activities of SMEs through three strategic channels:

1)  Building organisational infrastructure and creating practical tools to make the city friendly to SMEs (such as setting up a ‘business promotion’ department in the city);  2)  Promoting space planning and physical development favoring business and economic activity;  3)  Developing strategic industries in an inclusive perspective, such as blue economy, high-tech, health and medicine, and tourism.