Futurist offers underground housing solution to Israel’s coming population explosion

Futurist offers out-of-the-box solution for Israel’s coming housing crisis. 

By David Isaac, World Israel News 

Israel’s population will reach 16 million by 2050 and the country needs to think outside the box in terms of housing the expanding population, said David Passig, an Israeli futurist and associate professor at Bar-Ilan University, appearing on Israel’s Channel 20 on Monday.

His solution? Israel needs to start building underground.

“The idea is we need to start looking at the ground from a three-dimensional mindset, and not two-dimensional,” he said on the talk show Riklin & Magal, noting that other countries like Canada have already built underground.

Israel’s population density is now at 600 people per square kilometer. At the end of the century, it is predicted to be 1,200/kilometer, he says, describing that as a “very crowded.” The trouble is nothing is being done to prepare for it, he says. “No one thinking about it in Israel.”

Passig warned that one “frightening” outcome of not preparing for the population growth is that Israel will be forced to go war simply to have enough area to house its population.

The Bar-Ilan professor also spoke at the annual convention of the Israel Builders Association, which took place in Eilat last weekend. He presented his population model in which Israel’s population would number 16 million by 2050.

“Not to prepare for this event is a crime. Our children will blame us if we don’t prepare for the future, because we know what will happen. This isn’t something that we could say we didn’t know it would occur,” Passig said at the conference, according to Israel Hayom.

Raul Srugo, president of the Israel Builders Association, used the opportunity to send a warning to Israel’s government.

“If we don’t carry out some far-reaching processes that begin immediately, this crisis is expected to turn in the coming years into a social-economic disaster,” he said.

Srugo said that building can’t grow at the rate necessary without a dramatic expansion in infrastructure investment. The government must immediately deal with the growing lack of quarrying materials in order to be able to increase the available building materials, the Israeli daily reported him saying.

“All the statistics that we present here point to the need for a substantive change in the way the government is taking care of the crisis in the housing market,” Srugo said.