One of Forum 15's key missions is to empower the capacity of the major municipal governments in Israel with the necessary tools and XX for creating and advancing  modern, livable urban environments  - cities with good, diverse, useful and secure public spaces; vibrant and walkable city streets, excellent welfare and community services, efficient public transportation, high quality education, a variety of housing options, opportunities for recreation and leisure, diverse communities and cultures, a healthy environment, etc.

I Three elements are key to realizing its vision: First, it is essential to provide municipal governments with the advanced management tools necessary for meeting successfully the challenges of a modern city and metropolitan area. Second, promoting advanced high quality infrastructure and urban planning to meet the city's present and future development. Third, investing in social and community empowerment, aiming at establishing a sense of wellbeing and a distinct local identity -  a city where people want to live.

In order to promote this vision, these goals, Forum 15 is plays a leading role in a variety of national processes and professional deliberations pertaining to national, regional and local planning policy, both in the Knesset (the Israeli parliament), in national planning authorities, and in governmental comities. A leading example is the Forum's leading role in the initiation and advancement of National Plan 35, Israel's national master plan for spatial zoning. The Forum played a major role both in the compilation and in the promotion of this plan, which was originally approved in 2005, and has since remained engaged in its periodic amendment processes.  Forum 15 is also a key player in national policy for urban renewal, working to ensure that urban renewal processes maintain a high level of planning and support rather than undermine, the attempts of cities to create livable urban spaces. The forum played a major role in amending National plan 38, the national master plan for structurally reinforcing buildings. Forum 15's position is that National Plan 38 not only did not achieve its goal for reinforcing the buildings most prone to damage due to seismic activity, but also undermined quality urban renewal processes by creating a more lucrative shortcut to renewing buildings in highly urban area, without providing for the necessary improvements to the adjacent urban areas and without enabling cities to provide the additional municipal services necessary to serve the increase in residents.

In addition to participation in national Master Plans, the Forum's activities focus on decentralization or planning authority to local planning committees. In 2006, in accordance with a reform that was introduced by Forum 15, together with the Planning Administration within the Ministry of Interior, self-governing cities and local committees gained greater authority in advancing strategic and city master plans. In 2014, consistent with the reform in the National Planning and Building law, a greater level of decentralization was reached, as local authorities that qualified by the ministry of interior as "independent committees" gained authority over 11 planning authorities, mainly pertaining public spaces. Committees that qualified as "special independent committees" gained the authority to conduct urban renewal planning as well.  

"These reforms shift the focus of local planning committees from regulating land-use plans imposed on them to becoming an active body for land-use planning. Local authorities are encouraged to prepare local comprehensive plans that provide an overarching strategy for their jurisdiction. Once approved by the district committee, local planning committees that have proven their professional ability will have full authority to decide on lower level plans that comply with the local comprehensive plan." From the OECD report: " Spatial Planning and Policy in Israel, OECD Policy Highlights, year).


Initiatives in urban planning:

Green buildings: Forum 15 was the leading force in adopting green building in Israel. In 2011 Forum 15 cities adopted a mayor's resolution for integrating green building in urban planning, and in 2013 the Forum adopted a second mayors' resolution for adoption of the Israeli Green Building Standard (SI 5281) as a mandatory requirement for planning and permits of all new buildings. This policy has led to a dramatic increase in green building in Israel, as well as a significant boost in the green building market. In 2020, Forum 15's policy was adopted as a national requirement by the Israeli planning administration. In January 2022, Forum 15 Mayor adopted a 3rd resolution, adopting a higher level of green building requirements. This includes extending green building standards to a greater variety of buildings and raising requirements for large and significant buildings. For more information, click here.

Convention on quality in urban architecture and planning: Forum 15, in collaboration with Israel Association of Architects and Urban Planners are working on a Convention for  'quality in urban architecture and planning' that will enhance the quality of urban planning and quality of life in Israel's cities. Due to the subject's great importance, In January 2021, Forum 15 board has decided to establish a joint framework to promote this convention, as it pertains to public buildings, and planning public space and residential areas in their respective cities. This step will further willingness of city mayors, municipal authorities and Forum 15 to sign this convention once its preparation is complete.  We expect to complete the professional portion of the work during the first half of 2022.

Education and training: Forum 15 provides professional training for municipal urban planners. The Forum's annual flagship course, "The Israeli city: 2030 – Planning out of the box", presents tools and advanced methods in planning neighborhoods and public spaces, urban renewal and advanced smart cities in order to improve quality of life in cities and urban environments, to develop quality public spaces and lively city streets, and provide high quality social and community services. The course provides city planners with advanced tools in urban planning that were implemented successfully in leading cities around the world. The fifth annual session of the course opened in April 2022.