Only 5.5 percent of the 2,600 properties owned by the city of Jerusalem are
serving the Arab residents of the capital, according to a new database created
by the Jerusalem Awakening party and the Public Knowledge Workshop.
database and Google Map were created to help individuals and organizations take
better advantage of municipality services, said Public Knowledge Workshop
volunteer Ido Ivry.
“At the beginning of my job, I was shocked to
discover that there isn’t an organized map of all the municipal properties that
are allocated for different purposes across the city,” said City Council member
Merav Cohen (Jerusalem Awakening).
“The lack of information makes it
difficult for publicly elected officials to make intelligent decisions that are
appropriate for the real needs of the residents,” she said.
All of the
information in the new database was available to the public, but it was
scattered across many different areas and offices, making it nearly impossible
for anyone to get a full picture of the situation. The extensive database
created by the Public Knowledge Workshop is the first time all of the
information is collected in one place.
Ivry said one of the most
surprising outcomes of the project was the sheer amount of properties the city
owns. They assumed the city had around 300 or 400 properties, and were shocked
by the final figure of 2,600.
Only 5.5% of the properties are allocated
for Arab residents.
The list includes buildings used for schools,
libraries, community centers and cultural institutions. Many schools in east
Jerusalem are located in rented buildings, including residential apartments,
which are less suitable for schools than properties owned by the municipality
and built as schools.
“We want to educate the local councils,” said Ivry,
who envisions future maps detailing parking spots or construction approvals. “I
feel like I have no idea what is happening in my city.”
information exists somewhere,” he said. “If this information is available and
accessible, there will be more trust in local authorities.”
Knowledge Workshop also has projects which compile massive amounts of data about
Knesset votes and the state budget in easily searchable databases and
informational graphics. The projects are completely volunteer-run.
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