May 12, 2010 (Tel Aviv) ---- For Immediate Release -----Neal I.

Payton, AIA, Principal at Torti Gallas and Partners, Inc., of Los Angeles will join 7 other planning professionals from around the world for the the inaugural session of the Israeli Mayors’ Institute on City Renewal, which will take place on June 1-3, 2010, hosted by the mayor of Tsefat. Bringing together seven Israeli mayors, (of Bnei Braq, Ashkelon, Nazareth, Giv’at Shmuel, Qiryat Bialik, Mazkeret Batya and Hura), the even is sponsored by the MIU - the Movement for Israeli Urbanism (Merhav). Payton and his colleagues will come together to analyze projects and determine the best forms of development for the cities’ long term economic development and urban quality of life. About the Israeli Mayors’ Institute on City Renewal
The aim of the Israeli Mayors’ Institute on City Renewal, launched in November 2009, is to provide professional tools for Israeli mayors to promote sustainable urban renewal and local economic development (LED), through a series of intense workshops with the participation of an experienced, multidisciplinary professional staff. This is a landmark project in Israeli urbanism, developed on the model of the US Mayors’ Institute on City Design ( Over the 24 years since its foundation, the MICD has succeeded in influencing nearly 800 mayors of American cities. MIU sought to adopt this model based on an analysis which concluded that the most effective way to effect real change in Israeli urban development is through mayors. In both the US and Israel, mayors are the ones who lead the planning, building and development in their cities. The primary tool of the Mayors’ Institute that MIU is developing is to hold a series of intense 3-day workshop sessions in which a small group of mayors (8 in each session) and a similar number of professionals (in urban design and planning, architecture, local economic development, transportation, environment, law) analyze specific urban projects presented by each mayor. Through the sessions, the mayors undergo a significant learning process, open up to new conceptions of urban planning, and come out with knowledge and applicable tools to help them promote the best projects for their community’s long-term economic development and urban quality of life. This initiative has been in preparation for more than a year. MIU Chair Irit Solzi, MIU Director Dror Gershon and Dafna Carmon from the Heschel Center embarked on a study trip to the US in October, 2009, to learn from the experience of the MICD directly, meet with mayors who took part in MICD and their staff, and see first-hand the kinds of changes that resulted from the program in Charleston, SC; Bethlehem, PA; Santa Barbara, CA; Spokane, WA; and Los Angeles, CA. This helped us understand how to work with the mayors and how best to adapt the model to Israel’s planning systems, institutional reality and statutory system. Fully 92% of the Israeli population lives in a total of 220 cities and communities defined as urban settlements. As a result of activities planned for 2010 and 2011 alone, the Institute will have the potential to influence the built environment inhabited by as many as 2,000,000 Israelis (and municipalities covering 700,000 dunams, about half the built area of Israel), as calculated on the basis of a sample of candidate cities targeted for participation in the first session.

03- :'‫מכון ראשי ערים לעירוניות מתחדשת בישראל - רחוב גלוסקין 7 ת"א 75126 טל‬ 03-6022478 :‫8731406 פקס‬ Israeli Mayor's Institute on City Renewal email:

About the MIU MIU - the Movement for Israeli Urbanism (Merhav) strives to improve the quality of urban life in Israel and actively promote the development of sustainable and humane urban environments in Israel. We believe that the quality of urban life in Israel can be transformed by applying:  People-oriented planning that prevents deterioration and atrophy of cities  Sustainable local development that enhances opportunities  Democratic urban planning processes
MIU is part of the community of environmental organizations in Israel, yet it is the only organization that focuses on changing the urban built environment, and strives to develop the necessary policies and professional tools for making this transformation. MIU employs a holistic planning approach with addresses physical, economic and social aspects of city life in order to achieve lasting change. MIU believes in creating successful urban environments that are:  Diverse in uses, and allow access to everyday needs within walking distance  Based on a system of public transportation and that encourage walking and cycling  Efficient and sustainable in terms of use of land, infrastructure and buildings  Planned with respect for the local community, culture, climate and landscape The vast majority of Israelis live in cities and towns, yet Israel is afflicted by neglected city centers, wasteful urban sprawl, and planning that leads to economic and social polarization, wasted resources and environmental deterioration. To improve the quality of life in Israel, while contributing to the global effort to achieve sustainability, MIU promotes urban environments that are compact, vibrant, provide opportunities and potential uses, and leverage public space as the foundation of community life. We achieve this by:  Changing public policies related to urban planning  Changing urban planning processes  Creating awareness and disseminating knowledge Our target populations include urban planning professionals and stakeholders, policy decision makers at the local and national levels, academia, and the public at large. For More information: Dror Gershon, MIU Director for quotes or further information. +972 52 348 87 14 +972 3 602 4956. Or by email at
03- :'‫מכון ראשי ערים לעירוניות מתחדשת בישראל - רחוב גלוסקין 7 ת"א 75126 טל‬ 03-6022478 :‫8731406 פקס‬ Israeli Mayor's Institute on City Renewal email: