Fields of Activity
1. Legislation and regulation - reorganization of the relationship between national and local governments in Israel, aimed at empowering the major cities and granting them greater managerial autonomy. To further this goal, the forum succeeded in legislating the Self-Government Cities Act, which granted greater authority to the cities with proven and positive record of self-management. In addition, the Forum is promoting and advocating for the legislation of a new and up-to-date Municipalities Act to replace the archaic legal framework which serves as the main binding legal framework by which municipalities have been regulated since almost a century ago. Such a law is necessary to provide municipalities with the legal and economic tools needed in order to run a modern city. Additionally, Forum 15 advocates for greater powers for cities in a variety of fields (planning and construction, law enforcement, education, transport, environment etc.), represents the major cities to the government and Knesset, and acts to prevent legislation and regulation detrimental to the independence of local government.
2. National & Planning - Forum 15 is involved in the development of national outline plans affecting the urban sector in Israel, and in following up on their implementation. Thus, Forum 15 was involved in preparing the national strategic outline plan for Israel’s spatial organization in the coming decades (National Outline Plan 35). Concurrently, Forum 15 is active in preventing suburban sprawl, removing impediments to the implementation of urban renewal programs, promoting legislation enabling affordable housing, and more.
3. Sustainability, environmment and climate protection - In 2008, Forum 15 inaugurated its Convention for Reducing Air Pollution and for Climate Protection ("the Climate Convention"), a local-Israeli version of the international convention of ICLEI organization. The convention commits municipalities to reducing air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions within their boundaries and to preparing municipal plans of action towards achieving these goals. Ratification of the convention serves as a central tool for promoting a strategy of urban sustainability, with regard to the following fields of activity, among others: transport and fuels, waste and recycling, energy efficiency, use of urban space, education and outreach. Forum 15 continuously promotes the process, providing its signatory cities with contrast professional support, information and tools.
4. Green building - This is the central area promoted by Forum 15 within the framework of the Climate Convention. Green building is an expression of advanced urban resilience; it combines elements of emissions reduction, adaptation, quality of life and green growth. Green construction principles apply not only to single buildings but also to planning policy of the street, neighborhood and city. This theme is promoted by means of the Urban Forum for Green Construction, composed of City Engineers and additional relevant professionals, with a brief to promote uniform, professional and clear policy in the field of green construction. In June 2013, the Mayors’ Quorum of Forum 15 adopted a Resolution to Adopt the Israeli Standard for Green Construction as Binding Urban Policy.
5. Transportation - Any lively, healthy metropolis depends on the existence of diverse means of transportation, enabling a reduction in private vehicle use and encouraging the use of public and alternative forms of transport. Planning at a broad regional level, taking these elements into consideration, will improve health and quality of life, reduce greenhouse gas emissions, minimize social inequality and increase person-to-person interaction thus contributing to the city’s liveliness. Forum 15 is active in promoting urban planning policy and embedding transport solutions with a view to this goal, as well as in promoting the establishment of metropolitan transport authorities (a step anchored in a government decision in 2011).
6. Education - Forum 15 is at the forefront of the struggle to defend the quality of public education in Israel. On this subject, the forum has struggled against budget cuts in education and succeeded in preventing those cuts. Forum 15 is also a partner in the effort to promote equal access to education. Moreover, the Forum has led the public campaign against the financing of unofficial educational institutions.
7. E-government - in a world of advanced technology, there is greater demand for accessible, available and up-to-date information and content. At the municipal level, improved access to information will enable residents to know about, participate, intervene and affect decision-making processes. In addition, Forum 15 is active in developing a uniform model for municipalities which will promote transparent information and encourage public participatory processes.
Innovation - “The smart city” - cities are living laboratories and an optimal arena for the testing of innovative and groundbreaking ideas, concepts and technologies, which may have a dramatic effect on city life. With this in mind, Forum 15 actively seeks out and collects information and knowledge, learning about developments and ideas coming to fruition in the world’s leading cities and examining the possibility of implementing and adapting these to Israeli cities. Thus, Forum 15 has promoted advanced technology projects such as city-wide free wireless internet service, cellular parking, mechanized law enforcement, online learning systems, and more.