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According to a poll conducted by the Wall Street Journal and Citigroup, in cooperation with The Urban Land Institute, Tel Aviv is the second most innovative city in the entire planet. While Medellin, Columbia is number one, Tel Aviv is ranked higher than New York City, London, Copenhagen, Singapore, Hong Kong, Berlin, etc. The cities were selected based on their environmental friendliness, vibrant cultural life, economic climate, progress potential, affluence, educational level, promotion of technology and research, and their infrastructure.

Leslie Braunstein reported on the Urban Land Institute’s website that Tel Aviv “has emerged as a global hub of technological innovation. Home to thousands of homegrown startups as well as outposts of American giants such as Google and Microsoft, Tel Aviv’s technology corridor, dubbed the ‘Silicon Wadi’ (employing the Arabic word for valley), is ranked just behind California’s Silicon Valley in worldwide importance.”

Evidently, over 700 start-ups and research centers are located within the Tel Aviv municipality. Tel Aviv Mayor Ron Huldai has asserted that Tel Aviv has always been a leader in innovation. He claimed, “Alongside the city being home to many diverse technological ventures, the municipality is investing great efforts in cultivating entrepreneurialism and innovation. Already we are seeing the clear results, in terms of economic growth and increased investments coming into the city.”

Tel Aviv is working on ways to make the city even more innovative than it already is. Tel Aviv’s Deputy Mayor Asaf Zamir proclaimed, “We are working to create a startup visa for foreign entrepreneurs, increasing the number of international students in the metropolis, opening work spaces for technological entrepreneurs, and more.” Tel Aviv has also started up a Tel-o-Fun bike project, which encourages people to ride bicycles rather than utilize polluting vehicles. In addition, Tel Aviv will be the first city in the world to utilize NASA’s SkyTran podcar system, which is a hybrid of a train and a car that is designed to carry six people from one point to another, and is also considering an environmentally friendly electric rental car system.

In recent times, Tel Aviv has been honored in numerous ways. UNESCO has claimed that Tel Aviv is an excellent example of town planning and modern architecture. Indeed, according to Leslie Braunstein, Tel Aviv has incorporated and revitalized the historic port city of Jaffa, which possesses some buildings dating back to the medieval period, and beautifully built numerous sky rises, some of them “75 floors high” beside this “trendy residential area,” alongside “more than 4,000 Bauhaus-style buildings developed by German Jews fleeing the Nazi regime in the 1930s and named a UNESCO World Cultural Heritage Site in 2003.” Foreign Policy Magazine has also ranked Tel Aviv as one of the world’s top 50 cities, while Lonely Planet declared that Tel Aviv is one of the top three best tourist destinations. Additionally, National Geographic lists Tel Aviv as one of the top ten coastal cities and Toronto’s Globe and Mail proclaimed that Tel Aviv is one of the five most creative cities in the world.

By Rachel Avraham