The Gov. City
Gov. City in Jerusalem: How to turn the capital city of Israel into a successful government and administration city like Washington and Berlin?
This research aims to present decision makers with economic and other advantages implicit in turning Jerusalem into an active and successful government city.
What is a successful government city?
A successful government city is a capital city in which the governmental sector is a major part of the urban fabric, surrounded by an entire system of enveloping components that constitute the governmental ecosystem. The components of the ecosystem interact in various ways, the core of which is cooperating in thinking, knowledge development, and development of innovative tools for improving the interfaces between these components. The physical-urban space of the city, which includes the governmental sector, is the arena in which these interactions take place.
The research examines the reasons for the gaps between the great potential of Jerusalem as a leading government city and the current reality. As a government city, Jerusalem suffers from numerous weaknesses, such as an irrational dissipation of government offices throughout the city, a lack of important components of the governmental ecosystem, and the fact that half of the public-sector workers do not even live in the city. However, the focal point of these weaknesses is the National Quarter. Despite considerable investment in planning and constructing the government institutions that reside therein, the National Quarter suffers from a distinct disconnection from the urban fabric, a feeble public transportation infrastructure, a complete lack of commercial spaces, and an obvious underutilization of the public space.
The main aspects in the activity of a successful government city are a central location and attractiveness of the national quarter, good accessibility to the national quarter, activity of all the components of the ecosystem in the city, and a critical mass of a young and strong population that is employed in the various components of the governmental ecosystem. Some of these aspects do exist in Jerusalem, while other are missing or exist only very partially. For example, Jerusalem does have the largest number of employees in the public service, but only half of them reside in the city.
Planning of the National Quarter (Kiryat Ha-Le'om)
From a planning point of view, quality municipal plans apply to the Quarter, but they have been implemented only partially. The National Quarter sends its visitors a message of “anti-urbanness”, primarily due to considerations of security and implementation that took into consideration short-term problems instead of adopting solutions for the long term. In this situation, the area is an urban wasteland that negatively affects the functional and economic potential of Jerusalem as an government city. The ecosystem, too, is not perfect and lacks several significant components such as foreign embassies, media, and lobbying and strategic consulting offices. The presence of the government in the capital is also incomplete.
The key to creating a new, thriving, and healthy urban reality is to be found in creating a simple and pleasant, physical and functional link within the National Quarter, with its thousands of employees, and between it and the other parts of the city. The implementation of the recommendations can provide an impetus for the economic development of Jerusalem and for strengthening its status as the governmental core of the State of Israel. In addition, it may serve as a catalyst for consolidating a comprehensive strategic plan regarding the issue of the government city in Jerusalem in the upcoming years. In our vision, we see the municipality, the government, and other bodies combining efforts in order to turn the capital of the State of Israel into a successful and thriving city that maintains rich mutual relations between the governmental ecosystems, at a level corresponding to that of successful government cities such as Washington and Berlin.