The recent decades have seen a shift toward prioritizing economic growth through advanced industry (high-tech). This has taken place in most of the developed countries, including Israel. A consequence of this was the high priority given to technological universities. Although successful in bringing about impressive economic growth, this technology-based strategy resulted in some detrimental effects on the general wellbeing of the country – in Israel, as well as other developed countries – by increasing societal inequality, compromising the environment and leading to decay and gaps in the development of infrastructure in crucial areas such as transportation, water resources, air quality and energy. These issues are of particular concern in Israel because its density of population and rate of population growth are far higher than any other developed country. Natural disasters such as floods and earthquakes have drawn attention to the societal risks of decaying infrastructure and construction.
It has also become evident that economic growth cannot be sustained without adequate infrastructure and quality of life. These perceptions, both worldwide and in Israel, are now leading to new thoughts and insights on the need to prioritize construction and upgrading of national infrastructure. Emphasis is placed to the development and implementation of new technologies with special emphasis on life cycle assessment, which takes into account long term economic, environmental and social impacts; in other words, sustainable development.
In Israel, this trend is further augmented by a general political consensus, bridging all political parties, that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict will not be resolved within the next few decades – hence Israel should see itself as a “marathon runner” and build a strategy for long term resilience. Such resilience requires a strategy based not only on “national security” in the sense of strong defense capabilities and a strong growth of a knowledge based economy, but also societal resilience, which assures the well being, equality and quality of life of the general population and for generations to come.
The new Master Plan for Israel, recently approved as an official State of Israel Master Plan 35, reflects these concepts and is becoming the guide and driver for reinventing Israel as a modern country. This calls for the construction of state-of-the-art infrastructure, assuring that a healthy balance between urban and green areas will be created, as well as an advanced and intelligent transportation system linking the periphery and urban centers. All of these are to be supported by safe and sustainable environmentally-friendly infrastructure and buildings.
(from: “Israel 2020 to 2050”, Prof. A. Mazor, Neaman Institute)