About Us

Bimkom - Planners for Planning Rights was established in May 1999 by planners and architects with the goal of strengthening the connection between human rights and spatial planning in Israel.

Bimkom's point of departure is that spatial planning impacts on the community, society, and basic human rights. The connection between planning and human and civil rights is not always self-evident: there is a tendency to assume that planning is the province of the authorities, something dictated from above that defines for the individual and the community the physical surroundings in which they live. It is precisely for this reason that it is important to stress to residents and citizens of Israel that they do have rights when it comes to planning processes and they are liable to suffer when spatial planning does not take their needs and aspirations into account.

As a professional organization, Bimkom strives to achieve the right to equality and social justice in matters of planning, development, and the allocation of land resources, and assists communities and minorities affected by social and economic disadvantage and by civil rights' discriminations to exercise their rights in this area.

What are Planning Rights?
Land allocation, planning policies and the way they are implemented (or not) determine, to a large extent, the nature of our human environment and the scope of opportunities available to communities. Flawed planning and the unequal distribution of resources are liable to impact negatively on the most basic values: human dignity, equal opportunity and access to public resources, and the right to a home, an adequate standard of living, and satisfactory infrastructure.

Spatial planning in Israel is highly centralized and not accessible or clearly understood by most of the country's citizens and residents for whose benefit it is designed. This, despite the fact that it impacts significantly on the quality of their lives. Decision-makers do not consider it self-evident that the public should be included in planning processes. If the public is involved, it is on a limited scale and happens all too infrequently. The right to information about the existence of planning projects is a basic right that is thus denied the public, leaving people without knowledge and, consequently, powerless to make a difference. Transparency in the planning process, dissemination of information to the public, and public participation in the planning process are basic rights that need to be strengthened and implemented.

Bimkom works to change planning processes and practices by promoting transparency, public involvement, and the recognition of the specificities of different communities, with their particular needs and aspirations.

What are Bimkom's Strategies?
Bimkom works on three main tracks to achieve its goals: Community-planning activities, educational activities, and public out-reach activities.

Community Planning Activities

Bimkom works in partnership with communities and minorities affected by social and economic disadvantage and by civil rights' discriminations to further their struggle to achieve equality in planning. Organizations and communities experiencing difficulties with planning issues can refer directly to Bimkom for help. Bimkom works with these groups to determine the type of intervention required and provides professional planning expertise in support of the community's activities.

Educational Activities
Bimkom disseminates planning information, strengthens awareness of planning rights, and gives guidance on how to exercise them to the general public and specific communities as well as to planning professionals.

Public Activities
Bimkom takes position on the professional, ethical and social dimensions of projects and planning processes initiated by the planning authorities. It advocates these positions to decision-makers, and raises the issue on the public agenda through the media, in cooperation with organizations in Israel and abroad.

What does Bimkom do ?
  • Produces reports and position papers on planning rights and how they impact on unempowered populations;
  • Provides professional consultancy services to communities on how to exercise equal rights and equal opportunities in planning processes;
  • Submits professional opinions in legal proceedings with regard to discriminatory planning policies and practices and provides assistance in submitting planning objections;
  • Initiates and promotes legislation on matters concerning human rights and planning;
  • Organizes workshops for residents of neighborhoods, villages, and cities who are having to deal with planning processes. The workshops familiarize participants with planning jargon, teach them how planning impacts on their daily lives, and demonstrate what their rights are;
  • Runs training programs and seminars on planning rights for professionals;
  • Disseminates information to professionals, decision-makers, and the general public and raises awareness of planning rights as basic human rights;
  • Promotes public activities with the goal of impacting on decision-making processes; and
  • Participates in coalitions of social, environmental, and human rights' organizations, with the aim of promoting transparency, equality, and social justice in planning.
How Can Professionals Help?
Bimkom's activists are professionals - architects, planners, sociologists, anthropologists, jurists, community workers, and so forth - who give their services on a volunteer basis in an effort to prevent infringements of human and community rights in spatial planning. Bimkom's activists belong to a growing family of people who contribute to the community and society in Israel and to strengthening its civil society

What are Bimkom's Sources of Funding?
In order to preserve its independence, Bimkom does not receive funding from the government or political parties; its only income is from donations.

Bimkom's activities are made possible thanks to the following: The Richard and Rhoda Goldman Fund, the New Israel Fund, the Arthur Goldreich Fund, the Green Environment Fund, the Porter Foundation, the Naomi & Nehemia Cohen Foundation, and to individual donors.

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