How do cities foster autonomous planning practices despite top-down control?

Nir Barak, Nir Mualam

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations


How do city governments create their own regulatory practices despite top-down control? We explore this question by focusing on a major planning quandary that has emerged in Israel over the last two decades: regulating the maintenance of high-rise residential buildings. Despite its social and economic importance, there are no national regulations in this domain. The city of Tel Aviv-Jaffa proactively filled this policy lacuna by gradually devising maintenance regulations, despite disagreements over whether it has the authority to regulate the upkeep of privately owned housing. The analysis herein reveals an ongoing struggle between local and central governments with very distinct worldviews. The case study demonstrates how municipalities push the central government to act, to assess its attitudes, and to review policies, and how they create a degree of autonomy for themselves. The analysis contributes to existing literature by proposing a conceptual framework consisting of two types of municipal autonomy. The first is the ordinary exercise of cities' administrative and planning powers independent of intervention by higher governmental levels. The second type is the extraordinary exercise of cities' political power vis-à-vis governments higher in the vertical hierarchy.

Original languageEnglish
Article number103576
StatePublished - 1 Apr 2022


  • High-rise development
  • Israel
  • Planning policy
  • Urban autonomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Development
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Urban Studies
  • Tourism, Leisure and Hospitality Management


Dive into the research topics of 'How do cities foster autonomous planning practices despite top-down control?'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this