Can Planning Protect the Public Interest? The Challenge of Coastal Planning in Israel

  • Nurit Alfasi Ben-Gurion University of the Negev
Keywords: Planning Law, Coastal Planning, Certainty-Discretion Dilemma, Public Interest, Comprehensive Planning, Strategic Planning, Planning Outcomes


This paper challenges the capacity of the planning system to protect the public interest and to safeguard it for the sake of the common and future generations. The question underlying the discussion is this: once the public interest is defined and accepted, once it is backed by planning policies and plans – can the planning system still deliver its goal and really protect it? We examine this issue by looking at the performance of the Israeli planning system at the coastal arena. More specifically, we compare between three modes of planning and management that operated in Israel in connection with the coasts: the first is the statutory comprehensive plan represented by the National Outline Plan no. 13, authorized in 1983; the second is the strategic planning represented by the Coastal Waters Policy Paper, accepted 1999 and; the thirds is the primary legislation represented by the Coastal Conservation Law authorized in 2004. The paper exposes the operation of these planning tools and assesses their utility in terms of protecting the public interest at the coast. The limited capacity of the planning system to protect the public interest is thus discussed as well as the ways it could be improved.


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