|M.Sc Student||Amir Smadar|
|Subject||Neighborhood Revitaligation in Hadar Hacarmel Haifa:|
|Department||Department of Architecture and Town Planning||Supervisor||Professor Emeritus Naomi Carmon|
Among the primary concerns of urban planners are processes of deterioration and revitalization of neighborhoods in the center of big cities. This research investigated whether processes of revitalization and gentrification were taking place in the center of Haifa, in the neighborhood of Hadar Hacarmel which deteriorated since the 1960s. It questioned whether new immigrants from the U.S.S.R., many of whom had been settling in the Hadar in the last three years contributed to a process of revitalization and what were the chances that they would contribute to it in the future.
Two hundred of the new immigrants residing in the Hadar were interviewed. The findings showed that they did not constitute a typical "gentry" population. Most of them were young highly educated professionals with an urban background, but only part of them had pro-urban attitudes. They lived in crowded apartments, and could not afford a "gentry" living style because of their limited economic resources. They have had a considerable impact on the housing market, by putting back to circulation abandoned housing units and by causing the price of purchasing and of renting apartments to double.
Our research found indications of a revitalization process without gentrification. The new identified process seems to be "softer" than gentrification; the differences between classes are moderate and veteran residents are not pushed out of their homes and neighborhoods.
Half of the immigrants have decided to settle in the Hadar or are considering to do so. Half of them, mostly immigrants with higher education, have purchased or wish to purchase an apartment within the next three years. The other half, which is composed mostly of unemployed immigrants, prefers to continue renting. Those who prefer to leave the neighborhood explain it by search for employment and the high prices of housing. Negligence of the surrounding also came up as a factor for leaving the Hadar.
Our prediction for the future of Hadar is that a third to a half of the immigrants now living in the area will stay, and new ones will join them. This population, with its unique characteristics has made and, in our opinion, will continue to make a positive contribution to the area. However, there is a danger that in a few years, the immigrants will adopt the negative attitude of the veterans towards the Hadar and will leave the area, thus retriggering the process of deterioration. The arrival of the immigrants created an opportunity for a positive change in the neighborhood. Planned public intervention is required in order to take advantage of the opportunity, and the research offers planning tools to enhance the attractiveness of the area for new immigrants as well as for other Israelis.