In tiny Israel, where cellular relay towers dot the landscape, cellular phone usage rates are among the highest in the world. Lately, however, a backlash has developed, both against the cartel-like behavior of the cellular providers and the possible health effects of non-ionizing radiation.
This week a revolutionary initiative was unveiled: a new neighborhood for 1,500 families who have decided to give up their cell phones. An entire neighborhood with no cellular reception.The mayor of the small northern town of Yokneam announced the plan for the neighborhood this week. As Israeli news site nrg.co.il puts it, "the neighborhood will be the first in Israel to be built for people who have consciously renounced the benefits of the cellular telephone in order to enjoy the benefits of non-exposure to radiation."
In addition to the lack of reception, which will be compensated for by scattering public phones around the neighborhood, city planners have integrated several ecocity concepts into the neighborhood's planning, making it rather innovative in the Israeli context. The neighborhood will be carfree, with large parking lots on its edges and shuttles taking residents from their homes to their cars. Around 40% of the neighborhood's power will come from a small solar power plant, the rest from natural gas. Houses will be built from environmentally-friendly materials and outfitted with water and trash recycling mechanisms.
Yokneam's mayor has been particularly vocal about his opposition to cellular antennas inside his town, and the town is even involved in a legal battle with cellular providers over an antenna that was erected on one of the town's houses.
All of this begs an intriguing question: could Israel, one of the first countries to adopt cellular technology wholesale, now be on the vanguard of those choosing to give it up?
Via:: nrg (Hebrew link)