How can depressed communities be upgraded? One approach is to import settlers with higher incomes. In a unique experiment in Israel, this approach was utilized, and the results are the focus of the Ayalon, Ben-Rafael, and Yogev study.
The three authors examine the costs and benefits of an experiment in community change in Mobiltown. The experiment, which brought higher status people to a poor community, is evaluated on the basis of surveys, indepth interviews, and observations. The research shows that the experiment has mainly resulted in the status enhancement of the community as a whole. Yet, expectations for social integration between the new and veteran residents were not fulfilled. Many of the cultural, economic, commercial, and social developments were based on some form of implicit segregation. The dynamics of unbalanced outcomes are demonstrated in the areas of intergroup attitudes, the formation of social networks, and in the political and educational arenas. The Mobiltown experiment demonstrates how the cost of newly introduced social gaps are countered by the benefits of the status enhancement of the entire community. An important study for sociologists, urban planners, and those concerned with social change in Israel.