In Search of Municipal Entrepreneurialism: New Roles in the Governance of Urban Regeneration in Israel

Authors: Yinnon Geva*, Hebrew University, Gillad Rosen, Hebrew University of Jerusalem
Topics: Urban and Regional Planning, Economic Geography
Keywords: Entrepreneurialism, municipal governance, urban regeneration, Israel
Session Type: Virtual Paper
Day: 4/10/2021
Start / End Time: 8:00 AM / 9:15 AM
Room: Virtual 36
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

This paper explores municipal entrepreneurial shifts in the context of a national market-led urban regeneration policy in Israel. Our work draws on a growing body of scholarship that explores the varied agendas ‘beyond growth’ and experimental practices that influence municipal entrepreneurialism in recent decades (Lauermann 2018). We examine the motivations and mechanisms by which municipalities reconcile a top-down growth imperative with the competing agendas and practices embedded in the municipal organisational structures. The analysis is based on semi-structured interviews and multiple secondary sources obtained over the course of 6 years. Our focus is on the recent introduction of a new institution - Municipal Regeneration Agencies (MRAs), which function as local intermediaries between state, developers, and property-owning citizens. We examine how MRAs have obtained a ‘model status’ (Peck et al, 2013), arguing that this model reflects a ‘roll-back’ of entrepreneurialism developed in reaction to the original ‘hands-off’ approach derived from the national policy. MRAs were found to advance the national urban regeneration agenda by acknowledging and leveraging the capacities of different municipal institutions, thus following a path of least institutional resistance. Although MRA activities are skewed towards supporting residents and regulating market relations, these roles effectively facilitate development by decreasing risk for both residents and real-estate developers. The findings contribute to the understanding of how structural and institutional factors increase variance in municipal entrepreneurialism, while also contributing to a broader debate over the analytical limits of neoliberalisation theory.

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