The Israeli planning system Basics

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The Israeli planning system is a meters driven system, meaning that the focus is on the number of meters being built as opposed to the physical volume being created. This distinction is very important in understanding why concepts such as“challalim” and double height spaces creep in to Israeli building design and why certain building forms are rarely seen. The town plan “TABA”sets out the basic building rights of any given plot of land. It defines what use class the land has–ie residential, commercial or communal, what the building offset distances are, the number of units, height restrictions, number of floors and base materials. Often a maximum building footprint size is also specified. Certain aspects of the building rights can be varied subject to agreeing the variance with the local planning authority, while others are definitive and can only be changed by altering the TABA itself (shinui TABA)–a practical but more lengthy process. This flexibility is often TABA specific.

Focusing in, the planning system subdivides the meter allocation in to 2 categories–“Ikari” and“sherut”. “Ikari” is primary space, such as living space and bedrooms in houses, classrooms etc in schools and public areas in communal buildings. “Sherut” is generally secondary service areas which support the primary uses such as communal staircases in an apartment block, storage rooms and covered parking. Complex area calculations form an integral part of any planning submissions , demonstrating how the built meters within a project have been assigned. Bomb shelters (mamad/mamam) are a legal requirement for every building and there is a constant flow of innovative government led planning initiatives to address housing supply such as TAMA 38 and Pinui Binui to name a couple. Hopefully these will be addressed in detail in a future blog.

This is just a taste of all the fun and adventure that the Israeli planning system offers for those who dare to dabble!!