Urban Planning in a Multicultural Society

By Michael A. Burayidi | Go to book overview

Fifth, the town government offices should be relocated from Be'er Sheva to the town itself, giving residents a greater sense of access to, and participation in, the future of the town's planning and development.

Sixth, the town's social welfare planners should take a more direct and active approach in engaging more new residents to use their programs and initiatives. A "resettlement committee" should be available to help prepare families for moving, as well as provide follow-up services following their relocation.

In the final analysis, what continues to be most lacking in Segev Shalom and the other bedouin towns is a foundation for the establishment of communal-led civil institutions. Such a foundation, which might include the creation of formal or informal brotherhoods, religious associations, cooperatives, women's groups, or other community organizations that exist independently of the State-controlled superstructure, is lacking in the Negev bedouin case. That there are few such structures is emblematic of the community's current lack of a civil power base. Together such components are essential in helping form a basis for development through self-help, which can only further assist minority groups such as the bedouin in achieving self-determination and control heretofore absent from traditionally undertaken top-down planning initiatives.

It may be concluded, then, that further research on the development of bedouin civil society, including an emphasis upon how to help the bedouin community to help itself, is essential in ultimately furthering the social and economic development capacity of the resettlement initiative as a whole. A greater appreciation on the part of Israel's planners of how such civil entities can be developed may in turn facilitate the empowerment of the community. Such planning can benefit planners and residents alike, so that one day community members might run their own affairs, direct their own planning and development, and ultimately determine their own (hopefully) bright future.


NOTES
1
Throughout the chapter, the Hebrew name of the town, Segev Shalom, will be used rather than the Arabic name, Shqeb. This is done both for the purposes of consistency with published town plans and documents, as well as the recognition that the name Shqeb also denotes a large spontaneous area of settlement that extends well beyond the town limits.
2
These are Rahat, Tel Sheva, K'seifa, Aroer, Hura, Laqia, and Segev Shalom.
3
Reliable population statistics regarding the Negev Bedouin are not easily acquired. A more modest estimate places the 1995 population at 90,000; 55,000 in towns and 35,000 in the periphery ( Fenster 1996:48-49).
4
One recent study found an even higher rate, with as many as 40 percent of an urban school's pupils coming from polygynous marriages ( Jerusalem Report, May 15, 1997).
5
Previous calls for this provision, such as those noted in the 1993 survey analysis results that were submitted to the Masos Regional Council ( Dinero 1996a: 115), have gone unheeded.

-189-

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