The local planning and construction committee of the Jerusalem Municipality has given the green light to move forward with a new master plan for the Arab Beit Hanina and Shuafat neighborhoods in the city. The plan includes new housing and commercial developments, as well as several new parks.
This comes in conjunction with a massive $300 million construction project revealed in October by Bashar Masri, a billionaire entrepreneur and founder of the Palestinian Authority city of Rawabi near Ramallah. That project is to be called the “Lana” (for us) and will have a 400 unit housing project to be built in the northern areas of Jerusalem.
The new plan for the Beit Hanina and Shuafat neighborhoods is promoted by the city of Jerusalem through architect Eli Ilan. The plan covers an area of approximately 1,500 acres in North Jerusalem. The area to be developed is located on both sides of Shuafat Road and Beit Hanina Road, also known as the Ramallah Road.
This road is the main traffic artery for these neighborhoods, and in the Shuafat area it also includes the route of the red line of the Jerusalem light rail.
The purpose of the plan is to examine and determine an overall policy for the area in question, in accordance with the guidance of the master plan for Jerusalem 2000. The goal is to identify needs in the area of public space and to guide detailed plans. The region covered by the program is rich in landscape and archeological and historical heritage assets.
The height limit for construction and the building rights in the various areas proposed in the plan are graded according to the size of the lot. Certain areas, especially along the ridgelines, will be slated for the construction of buildings up to 12 stories in height.
Beyond that, in key areas along Ramallah Road, the plan offers hotspots for the construction of towers up to 18 floors. Along the light rail route, there is also an area that allows for high-rise construction.
The plan also defines a number of neighborhood and district centers in different ways which will enable the development of public institutions and employment in the neighborhood.
As for conservation, the plan mapped and identified historical construction areas according to periods. Its conservation appendix includes such specifications, which will serve as tools for examining existing construction as part of preparing detailed plans and submitting applications for building permits.
The master plan also offers a number of new wide roads to relieve congestion on Ramallah Road that will lead from Beit Hanina and Shuafat towards the city center. These roads will help to transfer traffic from the neighborhood to Uzi Narkis Road in the east and Road 50 in the west.
The program will also see the development of two new district parks. One will be adjacent to Road 20 (Ben Zion Netanyahu Road) to the north and the other will be in the area of Nahal Atarot in the north of the neighborhood.
There will also be a boardwalk along Route 21 that connects the western side of the plan, between parts of the neighborhoods from south to north.
The Mayor of Jerusalem, Moshe Lion, declared, “Continue the development of Jerusalem! Approval of the plan will regulate the planning and construction area in the area, promote the establishment of parks and lead to improved residents’ lives. The East of the city, like the West of the city, is evolving, for a better quality of life.”