Cooperative dividendsThe B’Shutaf cooperative, which offers members reduced prices on basic products, has been awarded the Histadrut’s Symbol of Unity prize in honor of International Workers’ Day on May 1. The prize is meant to reward and encourage any organization that works to improve conditions for employees, or initiatives that reduce the cost of living.The Jerusalem cooperative, founded in 2012, now has more than 350 members and operates from the Clal building in the city center. Many more young people and families are expected to join, and the group will likely serve as an example in other places.Brand-new plansA plan to build up to 4,000 housing units in the next five years is just one aspect of the urban renewal plan Mayor Nir Barkat has launched.At city hall on Sunday evening, more than 500 developers, architects, contractors and real-estate agents attended a joint meeting of the municipality’s high-ranking staff, representatives of the city’s contractors’ union, and the city’s subsidiary company Moriah. Also present was Dalia Zilber, the chairwoman of the Interior Ministry’s District Committee for Planning and Construction, which has to approve all the construction plans for the city.The participants heard a series of professional talks from experts on the city’s urban planning and renewal policy, the government’s rules to facilitate new construction projects, and the procedures for the Tama 38 plans and permits (which fortify buildings against earthquakes), among other things. The speakers also gave tips on how to convince residents to agree to new construction in their neighborhoods and to add stories to existing buildings. Amit Pony, who is in charge of the renewal plan at Moriah, said that “urban renewal is a new language that we all have to learn, and it has three major threads: planning, community and economics.”Barkat stressed that such renewal – particularly construction plans and improvement of infrastructure – was at the top of his agenda for the city’s future.Local LeonardoWhat do Leonardo hotel chain owner David Fattal, Israel Prize-winning actor Chaim Topol, and Beverly Barkat, wife of Mayor Nir Barkat, have in common? They and many others share the desire to do some good for a children’s retreat village in the North. Fattal invited 70 of the most famous artists in the country – including Topol, Dani Karavan, Menashe Kadishman and Benny Efrat – to exhibit and sell some of their works in the lobbies of Leonardo hotels, among them the two in Jerusalem. The proceeds will go to the Jordan River Village, which enables children with chronic or life-threatening illnesses to enjoy a vacation.As for Barkat, she decided to draw a charcoal piece especially for the occasion, one that pays tribute to famous Leonardo da Vinci works.The curators of this initiative are Doron Polak and David Tamarin.Jerusalem 2020The plan for the city’s image for the year 2020 is one of the main ones that city hall and Mayor Nir Barkat have been fostering. One of the plans in the 2020 framework is to build a large cinema and television studio complex, which would attract producers and filmmakers to Jerusalem from around the world. That project will be presented at a conference next week at the Israel Museum, in which all the Jerusalem 2020 plans will be revealed.Looking for a place to read?This summer, Jerusalemites who take a walk or jog or ride their bikes in Mesila Park will be able to borrow books at the same time. Out-of-use bus stops will be transformed into stations for books, a joint initiative of the Jerusalem Students Association and the Jerusalem Municipality. Seven neighborhoods are located along the park (seven kilometers in all), and at two stops books will be available for residents who want to read them there or take a book with them. The idea is to encourage people to enjoy reading a book in the pastoral atmosphere of the park or to bring their own books they would like to donate or to exchange them for books displayed on the attractively designed shelves. From time to time, community events such as poetry readings and lectures on books will be held at the stops as well.After 70 yearsOn Sunday, more than 1,000 World War II veterans from Russia will march from Menora Park on King George Avenue to Harmonia, the Cultural Center at 27 Hillel Street. The march has been an annual event in the city since veterans of the war arrived in Israel from the former Soviet Union. They will be accompanied by IDF soldiers, representatives of youth movements, Knesset members, those wounded in the war and former partisans, as well as the Jerusalem Police Orchestra. The march commemorates May 9, the date that marks the victory of the Allies, the surrender of Nazi Germany and the end of the war.A long and rewarding dayAn afternoon program in the Arab sector established in February has won the Feinstein Prize for Excellence in Entrepreneurship in City Management. The program is part of the municipality’s solutions to decrease youth participation in riots in the Arab sector. The project includes 2,100 children and has been running in 10 schools in Arab neighborhoods four days a week, and will be expanded to additional schools next year; it is aimed at transforming the schools into centers that grant young students access to several activities – sports, traditional dance and music, the arts, photography, Capoeira and much more. There are training courses covering subjects such as hairdressing and computers, as well as counseling on issues students face in society or at home.The Feinstein Prize is named after Roni Feinstein, the first director-general of the Jerusalem municipality (in 1948).