As anyone familiar with the Israeli landscape knows, the pace of urban development in Israel is astounding. Open spaces, agricultural land and cultural landscapes face day-to-day prospects of being turned over to residential and infrastructure development. Fortunately, we have public representatives on the National Planning Board who provide us with one line of defense for smart and environmentally sensitive planning and preservation of open spaces. Iris Hahn has been, for the past eight years, the representative of the environmental, non-governmental organizations on the National Planning Board. In this capacity, she has dealt with challenges to Israel’s national planning documents every month. During this time, she also volunteered as public representative in other national-level planning committees. We are proud that she bring this experience to the Green Movement and, potentially, to the Knesset.
Iris holds a master’s degree in urban and regional planning from the Technion, and is currently studying law at the Interdisciplinary Center in Herzliya. She has spent over 10 years as an environmental planner with the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel, the past two as Head of Research at the Open Landscape Institute. During her tenure with the National Planning Board, she learned both how to say “no,” but also how to think creatively and offer environmentally sound alternatives for Israel’s growing population and land needs. She co-writes a newsletter to convey important planning decisions to the public.
In 2006, Iris was selected by The Marker as one of the most influential individuals in Israel protecting the environment, and in 2007, Ha’aretz noted her as one of the most influential (if quiet) individuals on the real estate market in Israel. She is also an avid organic gardener.
She joined the Green Movement in hopes of increasing her ability to influence land policy at the national level. She anticipates that Real Estate and public land will be one of the major issues facing the next Knesset, and hopes to be there to serve the public in safeguarding public property, species diversity and open spaces.