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Urban Renewal in Jaffa amidst National Divides: Can Housing Development Pave a way to Recognize Housing Rights? Neta Ziv, Tel Aviv University.

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Presentation on theme: "Urban Renewal in Jaffa amidst National Divides: Can Housing Development Pave a way to Recognize Housing Rights? Neta Ziv, Tel Aviv University."— Presentation transcript:

1 Urban Renewal in Jaffa amidst National Divides: Can Housing Development Pave a way to Recognize Housing Rights? Neta Ziv, Tel Aviv University

2 A social housing initiative, grounded in social justice and human rights commitments, meets an economic and political reality: it is constrained by market forces, and embedded in past and present discriminatory practices.

3  In a distressed (Arab) Jaffa neighborhood, HOUSING DEVELOPMENT could be used as a means for alleviating poverty, strengthening community fabric (crime, drugs, vandalism), addressing acute housing needs.  Conventional community work (individual service, community organizing) has not altered profound and structural causes of current problems.

4  In any housing renewal project, current residents will not be displaced; they will benefit from the upgrade of their surroundings.  New housing will aim to serve the needs of veteran Jaffa residents (Arabs and Jews) who suffer from rapid gentrification of their neighborhood, leading to displacement and housing shortage. “Real estate interest by the affluent in Yaffo has created sharp class Differences, unseen in any other Israeli city. There are families here Living under the poverty line on a 2000 shekel welfare allowance, but 30 meters away people enter a parking spot in a car worth one millions shekels”. (Calcalist, October 2010).

5 Compound I: (“Kedem”): 37 units, out of which 31 are public housing tenants (housing company – Halamish). Many of these residents were displaced (“relocated”) by the state from Ajami in the 1980s from deteriorating homes. They were promised public housing was a temporary solution. Many have debts, some do not pay rent regularly. Dwellings are in extremely poor shape.

6 Compound II (“Shem Hagdolim”): 56 units. 30 owned by residents; 20 public housing tenants. owners are better off than public housing residents, however most are low income. Dwellings are in poor shape and vandalism constitutes a problem.

7  Home owners: deterioration of the property value; public housing tenants downgrading the prospects for betterment.  Public housing tenants: fear of displacement in case of up-scaling development, “Judaization” of Yaffo; Most residents wish to stay in Yaffo and/or neighborhood.

8  “ Urban Renewal” project in which 150-200 new units will be built. Total project will include 260 units (instead of 101 today).  Some new units will be built on top of current buildings.  Additional units will be built on an empty adjacent lot owned by the state; lot has unused building rights.  Existing buildings will be strengthened against seismic damages; elevators added; public space renovated; apartments enlarged and partially renovated.

9  Current owners could stay in their (renovated) apartments or move to a new unit.  Public housing residents will remain in the compound; they may be apportioned to each of the buildings not to create concentrated poverty clusters.  New/renovated apartments will be sold and/or rented at market and submarket prices – mainly to Yaffo residents. This will enable to strengthen the neighborhood.  Future Management: possibility of non-profit/CDC to manage the building and prevent future deterioration.

10  Economic feasibility – the need to come up with a business plan that would make the project financially worthy for a developer;  The Need for allocationg the “adjacent lot” to the project: to date the state has not agreed to designate the land towards the project.  Residents (our clients): how do we gain their trust? What ought to be their role? How do we reconcile different (and conflicting) interests of residents; can we accept the option of some residents excluded from the final project (e.g., heavily involved in crime)?  How do we prevent future gentrification and displacement of redsidents?

11  To what extent does residents’ interest to remain in the new development depend on the type of their property right? Should home owners have an advantage over public housing tenants?  What is the most appropriate "formula" for the social, ethno- national and income mix in the housing project that would ensure its sustainability and success, given the particular characteristics of its residents, which are mostly Arab Muslim?  Who is best suited and legitimized to make decisions about the social makeup of the project? Its residents? The professionals initiating the project? The broader local community within which the project exists?  Local Arab Community organizations: what should be their role in the initiative? What should be the role of the neighboring mosque/Imam?

12  How does academic engagement in a housing renewal project alter the mission of the academia?  What institutional tensions are brought about upon such involvement?

13 Law School Clinic School of Architecture Department of Sociology Film School

14 What is the added value of such a project within the larger debate on human rights and housing policies?

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