Contemporary Jewry

, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 81–89 | Cite as

Obstacles to middle-class suburbanization in Israel

  • Amiram Gonen


In spite of increased interest in the suburban villa among the Jewish middle-class in Israel there have been many obstacles in the way of the realization of this interest. The major obstacle has been scarcity of land for development, making the suburban option expensive, and driving some middle-class households to remote locations. Rural areas have been relatively out of reach for middle-class residential development and the peripheral housing estates of the 1950s and 1960s proved to be socially unattractive to nearby villa neighborhoods.

Because of obstacles such as these, the years between the late 1960s and the early 1980s, years in which there was much interest in the villa and the cottage, were not characterized by the mass suburbanization of the middle-class. The bulk of the middle-class continued to cluster in apartment buildings in inner city areas, with more and taller apartment buildings on vacant lots within or near the inner areas. Tel Aviv, Haifa, Netanya, and Jerusalem are full with such examples of intensive inner city construction for the middle-class.

By the mid-1980s the middle-class did not need the obstacles to suburbanization noted here as an excuse to remain urban. Urbanity and accessibility were once again becoming the explicit preference for much of the middle-class, a preference which has led them to move into deteriorating neighborhoods in older urban cores, to breathe new life into them, a process sometimes referred to as “gentrification”, a term not entirely appropriate here. Thus, suburbanization now has to compete with inner-city revitalization, particularly in the Tel-Aviv region, in addition to the obstacles placed before it during the past two decades on the urban periphery.


Public Housing Rural Settlement Apartment Building Urban Periphery Housing Estate 
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Copyright information

© Springer 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Amiram Gonen
    • 1
  1. 1.University of HaifaIsrael

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