As Israel’s cities continue to expand more and more of Israel’s biodiversity will be found within the urban environment. SPNI is leading the way to properly manage and integrate nature in the urban environment, turning it into an appreciated asset which flourishes and benefits both humans and biodiversity.
As a direct consequence of our success in this field, the government created a fund to help municipalities pay for the completion of urban nature surveys. With this backing we aim to complete the first national database of Israel’s urban nature by 2020.
The data gathered will help guide sustainable development as municipalities have the data to recognize the natural assets they have and can make informed decisions how to develop their cities. The end goal of this propose is the establishment of world class urban nature projects in all Israeli cities such as the Gazelle Valley Park, Jerusalem Bird Observatory and the Bassa Wetland Park in Herzliya. In these projects nature thrives and is just as importantly accessible to city residents who benefit from spending regular, high quality in nature.
SPNI's Urban Nature Process
1. Creating a Database of Urban Biodiversity: A team of experts will conduct an in-depth study of areas of ecological importance and interest in each city. This also includes existing city infrastructure to see how wildlife is adapting. The study takes a year to ensure information is gathered for each season.
Urban nature surveys have already been completed in Jerusalem, Haifa, Be’er Sheva and Ashdod. They can be found in Hebrew http://www.teva.org.il/?CategoryID=11557
2. Determining Policy: In conjunction with SPNI’s experts, municipalities and urban planners a plan is created based on the information gathered to create a policy for the city to follow to ensure its urban nature is preserved as the city develops. This also includes workshops and seminars to educate professionals.
3. Developing Projects: The Municipality, with SPNI consulting, starts work on the ground to develop Urban Nature sites. For example, Gazelle Valley in Jerusalem or the Basa Wetlands in Herzliya.
4. Public Awareness: Educating the public about urban nature through a series of regular guided activities in sites of interest around the city and bringing nature directly to the public and into their lives on an active basis.
5. Opening Urban Nature Sites: As projects are completed they will be opened for the public to enjoy. These sites will be managed by the Municipality and become part of the character of the city. One of the first urban nature sites, Gazelle Valley in Jerusalem, will open in 2023.
Visiting Urban Nature in Israel
Israel’s premium urban nature site is the Gazelle Valley Park in Jerusalem. More information can be found at http://www.zvaiim.jerusalem.muni.il/
The hide at the Jerusalem Bird Observatory allows you to view birds as they feed and bathe in the artificial pool. More information can be found at http://natureisrael.org/JBO
Each spring SPNI organizes urban nature week, a week of varied activities and guided tours in over a dozen different cities for free across Israel. More information can be found at http://www.teva.org.il/cityteva