Sunday, January 1, 2012

The Virtues of Tel Aviv

Our latest contributor, Mike from the Israel Thrives blog is visiting Israel for the first time. He writes "Tel Aviv is a terrific city, but Godawful ugly". Clearly Mike has not developed an appreciation for Bauhaus architecture- a celebration of function over form. In 2003 Tel Aviv was declared a World Cultural Heritage site, by UNESCO in recognition of the 4,000 Bauhaus buildings in the city. Bauhaus, from the German word meaning "Godawful ugly" architects reject "bourgeois" decorative details by using principles of classical architecture in their most pure form: without ornamentation of any kind.

This is likely not the appropriate forum to debate the virtues of Bauhaus architecture, but indeed, Tel Aviv is a terrific city, and has just been acknowledged by the Canadian Globe and Mail as one of the world's most creative cities

Steve Brearton writes:

The entire population of Israel may only number seven million—smaller than New York City—but this Middle Eastern state spends more of its GDP on research and development than any other nation. And it shows. In April, 2011, Israeli software start-ups PicApp and PicScout sold for a combined $30 million (all currency in U.S. dollars) to Indian and American buyers, respectively. A month later, cellular company Provigent was snapped up by U.S. chip maker Broadcom for $313 million, while Google paid $70 million for app developer Snaptu. In September, eBay bought e-commerce site The Gifts Project for a reported $20 million. All are start-ups. All have offices in or near Tel Aviv. In the first three quarters of 2011 alone, 422 Israeli start-ups raised $1.57 billion in venture capital, and an estimated 250 multinationals maintain R&D operations there. What makes Silicon Wadi—as the coastal region between Tel Aviv and Jerusalem is known—so special? Some say that a service requirement in the country’s famously high-tech military has given many young Israelis a technological sophistication that bolsters creativity and inventiveness. What we do know is that while Tel Aviv is small, it’s one giant innovation engine.

Israel. Its full of surprises.

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