Urban Sustainability – Theoretical Background

During the first year of the Urban Sustainability Project, Israeli consultants joined us in preparing the theoretical background on key issues of urban sustainability. Each expert contributed a detailed paper from their area of expertise relating to the goals of the Urban Sustainability Project. The academic background enabled the selection of the central issues and focus of the project. The issues and policies were then tested in urban labs to check and modify ideas in relation to real situations with real people (2014). The English executive summary of each expert report, a complete summary of the theoretical background stage (stage one of the Project), as well as the full length report in Hebrew are available in the following links.

What is Urban Sustainability?- Theoretical background summary

Summary of stage one, urban sustainability

Psychological aspects of consumption and sustainable consumption – Keren Mintz

 Many of our daily consumption decisions have multiple direct and indirect environmental impacts, including what, where and how much we purchase, travel and eat. Policy making for sustainability is now seeking what factors influence consumption decisions, how to identify the segmentation of consumer groups and how to promote more sustainable lifestyles.

The Sharing Economy – Weconomize

Several major cities have adopted Sharing as a leading economic trend which offers opportunities for more efficient use of existing space and resources and for convenient less expensive urban lifestyles. This paper reviews how the sharing economy could be adopted in Israel and the potential benefits to a municipality, using Jerusalem municipality as a case study.

New opportunities for urban public spaces  – Oded Kotok and Dror Kochan

The use of public spaces reflects the changing needs of urban society, yet many urban public spaces still reflect past needs and are not keeping up with emerging trends. This paper reviews the values of various public spaces in the urban fabric and proposes how new opportunities could make better use of shared public space in the city.

Energy,  Dr. Yael Parag

EnergyReducing urban energy consumption is essential to lowering urban carbon emissions. Dr. Parag suggests that to reduce energy consumption we need to increase the role of the agency or will of individual actors to consume less as well the capacity of individuals to make those consumptive changes. Rather than focusing on the bottom (such as consumers) or the top (such as the regulators), she proposed that policies are aimed at the middle-agents who are in the position to influence both the bottom and top. Abstract.


Local Action, Towards Sustainability: Heschel Center

קהילהThe Heschel Center analyzed the successes and failures of local action in promoting sustainability policy in Israel. It identified the values and principles a local action group needs to have to promote a wide sense of sustainability. Abstract.


Design, Michal Eitan

עיצובMs. Eitan outlines how design can be used to increase quality of life in cities and change patterns of consumption . She presents examples of design which enable sustainable lifestyles, constrain consumption, and motivate sustainable behaviors. Abstract.

Communities, Dr. Shay Ben Yosef1434811_79550813


Self-identity needs to be separated from consumption when seeking how to reduce consumption and create more sustainable cities,. Community affiliation can contribute to reducing the need for material consumption by separating identity from consumption. Dr. Yosef addresses practical ways to promote urban communities. Abstract.


1088216-5Transportation, Prof. Erel Avineri

Professor Erel Avineri presents applications of behavioral economics to show how municipalities could encourage people to choose sustainable transport options. Abstract.


MoneyBagsEconomic point of view, The Macro Center

The Macro Center presents the structure of the Israeli economy and proposes several interventions which could promote more sustainable lifestyles. Abstract.

Social Media Nimrod Dwek

social-media-post-signSocial media is a powerful tool for change. Mr. Dwek addresses the challenges and opportunities of using social media to promote urban sustainability in Israel. He supports his conclusions with examples of Israeli case studies. Abstract.

Employement, The Macro Center

מונופולUrban sustainability policy can have significant implications on the workplace and in the workforce,. The Macro Center outlines how sustainability practices can be applied and encouraged in the workplace and how sustainable policy can encourage job growth. Abstract.


Measuring Sustainability,  Meidad Kissinger

Dr. Kissinger proposes how indicators could measure sustainability. Abstract.אלעזר ראובני


Transition Initiatives, Yoav Egozi

עבודהMr. Egozi outlines the importance of sustainability action on the grassroots level. He focuses on a bottom up approach for generating sustainable change.

Full expert papers  can be found in Hebrew here.

Additional Background Papers:

Models for Sustainable Cities Valerie Brachya

The term ‘sustainable cities’ is gaining wide popularity but its meaning depends on the source and interests of the user or organization. There is no commonly accepted definition of what constitutes a sustainable city or indeed of what constitutes sustainability in cities. It is therefore worthwhile considering the range of ways in which the term is being used and evaluate whether the definitions are complementary or conflicting.

Examples of Cities with a Sustainability Agenda Leila Collins

Literature Review on Sustainable Lifestyles Valerie Brachya

Current research on sustainable lifestyles, includes research by social psychologists and psychologists on social norms, attitudes, motivations and identities  and how they are influencing the choice of lifestyles, when and where people change their lifestyles and how psychology and behavioral science can assist in overcoming barriers to changing to more sustainable lifestyles

The Sharing Economy and Sustainability Valerie Brachya and Leila Collins

This paper considers whether the sharing economy could be one of the paths to more sustainable urban lifestyles and if so, how cities can strategically engage with the sharing economy to advance sustainability.