Israeli cities in 2065 - sustainable, green and inviting?

Future cities founded on principles of sustainability will be able to offer a pleasant, healthy, and high-quality living environment, even amid challenges of overcrowding. These cities will be centered around high-quality, accessible and readily available public transportation, integrated into the very heart of the urban landscape. Dedicated routes for pedestrians and cyclists will be established alongside public transportation. One can envision cities in which car usage within the city center is entirely prohibited. This approach will foster the expansion and cultivation of green areas that harmoniously blend within and between buildings.

Rather than nondescript residential towers, these future cities will feature "green" buildings adorned with trees and edible plants. This innovation will yield diverse advantages, including the absorption of carbon dioxide and air pollutants, the preservation of biodiversity, mitigation of the urban heat island effect and enhancement of individual quality of life. These buildings will act as energy producers, reducing reliance on polluting power plants located outside the cities or at their outskirts. Instead of towering structures, interconnected buildings will form a densely woven urban network interspersed with green communal spaces, fostering thriving local species and nurturing a distinctive urban nature.

In these progressive cities, waste management will be based on smart infrastructure for waste separation, recycling, and localized energy generation in close proximity to residents' homes. All electricity infrastructure will be seamlessly integrated into this system with smart local energy networks feeding into larger electricity grids. The ability to shape a desirable urban future rests in our hands. To this end, the Environment and Sustainability Research Center is committed to providing the knowledge and tools needed to transition from the present reality of Israeli cities to a more sustainable and verdant future.



Israeli cities in 2065 - crowded, hot and polluted?

Forecasts indicate a considerable increase in the rate of population growth in the State of Israel. By 2065, the country's population is expected to double and will number over 20 million. More than 95% of the population will live in cities and urban density will increase. 

When we consider a future vision of urban life in the State of Israel, we can envision the repercussions of urban density in different regions. If existing density trends continue, the response to residential demand will come through the construction of high density tall towers, with little green space in between. These towers will not necessarily be built in existing city centers, but in "dormitory neighborhoods" which will develop at an increasing rate on the outskirts of cities. In such neighborhoods there will be few services for the local population, they will be separated from areas of employment, and in the absence of broad deployment of rapid public transportation networks residents will continue to travel in private vehicles. This will inevitably lead to worsening traffic jams and increased air pollution until a full transition to electric vehicles is achieved. The density of buildings, without existing vegetation and shade-giving trees, will exacerbate the urban heat island effect throughout the city, leading to temperature increases compounded further by climate change. The urban heat island effect will make city streets unpleasant to walk through, and even unbearable in the long summer months.

Is it possible to create change?

The Environment and Sustainability Research Center at the Open University conducts interdisciplinary, innovative research in the fields of environment and sustainability. The Center was established in 2023 in response to the current ecological and climatic crises, with the aim of promoting applied research that can make a real contribution to the promotion of high quality environmental policy. The Center brings together senior researchers from different disciplines with the aim of developing interdisciplinary research that will provide a response to the environmental and climate change challenges within local government in Israel. Within the framework of the Center's activities, the website provides access to a number of ongoing research studies, opinion pieces by the Center's researchers and other publications in the media.