“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.
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.