Migdal HaEmek leadership program participants have been “learning the
city” through walking tours, lectures, meetings with the city’s mayor,
Eli Barda, and municipal director Shalom Zuzut, and a series called
“Observing the View” with Yankale Steinberg (former director of the Mandel
Center for Leadership in the Negev).
The study unit began with a
guided walking tour (known as a “Jane’s Walk” after urban activist Jane
Jacobs) led by three group members who presented the Migdal HaEmek of
their childhood. In this way, participants got to know the city’s past
through their eyes and understand their connection to the place, which
led them to become socially involved as adults. Participants then
explored their “sense of place” and feelings about the city, and their
hopes for its future.
The mayor and municipal director visited
the program and discussed the city’s projected development. Over the
next few years, the population is expected to grow significantly, from
28,000 to 40,000. Migdal HaEmek’s urban planner, Hagit Naaly Yosef,
explained the city’s social planning approach, which emphasizes
diversity and takes into account the needs of different populations. Led
by Yosef, the participants analyzed the city’s plans for new
construction. Learning about Migdal HaEmek will continue to be part of
the program, and serve as a starting point for the participants to think
about the initiatives they wish to promote there.