Sunday, April 11, 2010

Land Use, housing, and the Middle East

A couple of weeks ago, a land use issue became a flashpoint in the continuing discussion over Israel and Palestine.  When Vice President Biden was visiting Israel, it was seen as an affront that the Jerusalem planning department announced the approval of a number of new housing units in disputed territory.

Then, when Mr. Netanyahu visited the White House, the press reported that his major prop was a "flowchart" purporting to show that the planning process in Jerusalem was outside of his control or knowledge.  Apparently, he was rebuffed.

Now it's entirely possible that the announcement of the new housing starts was the result of internal Israeli politics.  And it's never been a goal of the Land Use Prof Blog to wade into Middle East politics.  But I can't help but feel a little sympathy with Mr. Netanyahu, if for no other reason than the fact that anyone who wants to build housing in the US must run a regulatory gauntlet so byzantine that the very idea of an explanatory flowchart would be most welcome. 

What I really want to find out more about is, what is the process set forth in this flowchart?  I have tried to do the research several times since this story came out, and I haven't been able to find this flowchart.  I think that if a planning commission process flowchart is going to be a linchpin of global politics, we ought to at least be able to take a look at it!  If you have access to the flowchart please let me know!!

All the same, I'm still intrigued that the leader of a major Western democracy would think to go to a meeting equipped with a land use planning flowchart.  Just goes to show how significant these issues are!

Matt Festa

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Heavens, yes, Matt - let's stay out of Middle Eastern politics! It makes the whole dirt pile thing seem, well, minuscule. I am intrigued, though, about this flow chart. I hope you track it down. Just goes to show that land use pops up everywhere.

Posted by: Jamie Baker Roskie | Apr 13, 2010 8:53:13 AM