Tel Aviv-Yafo: From a Garden Suburb to a World City -- The First One Hundred Years

February 11, 2009

Of the head offices of Israel's financial institutions, 70% are located in Tel Aviv; 37% of the lawyers in Israel work in Tel Aviv; 69% of the solicitors who offer their services to the global market are located in Tel Aviv; and 32% of the advertising agencies are in Tel Aviv. This new data sheds light on Tel Aviv's control over all fields of life in the country. "This data reinforces the claim that the polarized design of settlement in Israel is characterized by a pattern of high concentration that is described as a country with 'an enormous head and no body'," states Prof. Baruch Kipnis of the Department of Geography and Environmental Studies at the University of Haifa, who initiated and edited the new book, Tel Aviv-Yafo: From a Garden Suburb to a World City - The First One Hundred Years, which was published on the occasion of 100 years since the establishment of the first 'Hebrew' city.

In his essay "Tel Aviv as a World City", which appears in this new book, Prof. Kipnis presents the various fields of substantial concentration in Tel Aviv in comparison with the rest of the country. The field of hi-tech is also centralized in greater Tel Aviv: 63% of Israel's hi-tech workers work in Tel Aviv and its metropolis; 74% of the places of employment in start-up companies are there, as is 73% of the risk capital invested in these companies in 1995-2004. It is not surprising, then, that 58% of the people who have an influence on Israel's economy work in Tel Aviv. An obvious concentration is also found in Israeli culture: 76% of the artists and sculptors in Israel live in greater Tel Aviv, as do 89% of those involved in the performing arts.

According to Prof. Kipnis, it is for this reason that Tel Aviv has become the most attractive city in Israel for the younger generation. The city, which until a decade ago began to cope with an aging process, is becoming younger and younger. Between 1996 and 2005, for example, there was a 27% rise in inhabitants aged 25-34 and a 56% rise in the population aged 35-44. Amidst the 65+ group, a 3% drop was registered.

"As a world city, Tel Aviv constitutes Israel's central anchor in the global economy. It represents an enormous head that controls the impoverished body that is the rest of Israel's national capacity," stated Prof. Kipnis.

The new book, which is unique in its presentation of studies covering a variety of disciplines related to Tel Aviv's first 100 years, presents studies by geographers, historians, and city planners, each essay discussing topics such as: the influence of the War of Independence on the city's geographic character; the Shalom Meir tower as the beginning of the city's "Americanization"; the position and importance of Jaffa and its Arab inhabitants on the fabric of Tel Aviv; the contribution of the city's mayors since 1921; public areas in Tel Aviv; approaches to municipal revival in Tel Aviv; and more.
Amir Gilat, Ph.D.
Communication and Media Relations
University of Haifa
Tel: +972-4-8240092/4
Cell: +972-52-6178200

University of Haifa

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