Boris A.Portnov and A.Paul Hare (Eds.)

(published by Springer-Verlag)


Scope of the Book


1. Introduction - Desert regions: Development issues, definitions and criteria




2. Long-term Development Patterns of Peripheral Desert Settlements
B.A.Portnov and E.Erell
Based on: Portnov B., Erell E. (1998) "Development Peculiarities of Peripheral Desert Settlements: The Case of Israel," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research 22(2): 216-232.
3. Sustainable Population Growth of Urban Settlements: Preconditions and Criteria
B.A. Portnov and D. Pearlmutter
Based on: Portnov B., Pearlmutter D. (1997) "Sustainability of Population Growth: A Case Study of Urban Settlements in Israel", Review of Urban and Regional Development Studies, 9(1): 129-145.
4. Private Construction as a General Indicator of Urban Development
B.A. Portnov and D. Pearlmutter
Based on: Portnov B., Pearlmutter, D. "Private Construction as a General Indicator of Urban Development: The Case of Israel" International Planning Studies 1999 4(1):133-161
5. The Effect of Remoteness and Isolation on the Development of Peripheral Settlements
B.A.Portnov and E.Erell
Based on: Portnov B., Erell E. "Clustering of the Urban Field as a Precondition for Sustainable Urban Growth in Peripheral Areas: The Case of Israel", Review of Urban and Regional Development Studies, 10(2): 123-141. Portnov, B. "Long-term Development Patterns of peripheral Urban Settlements: The case of Israel" (Manuscript).
6. Modeling the Migration Attractiveness of a Region
Based on: Portnov B. (1998) "The Effect of Housing on Migration in Israel: 1988-94", Journal of Population Economics, 11(3): 379-394
Portnov B. (1998) "The Effect of Housing Construction on Population Migrations in Israel," Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 24(3): 541-559
Portnov B. "Neutral" Migration Models for Israel and Japan" (Manuscript).
7. Investigating the Effect of Public Policy on Population Growth in Peripheral Areas
B.A.Portnov , D.Pearlmutter
Based on: Portnov B. "Evaluating the Effect of Regional Policy on the Patterns of Population Change"(Manuscript) Portnov B, Etzion Y., and Pearlmutter D. "The Policy of Population Dispersal in Israel and its Effect on the Patterns of Population Change" (Manuscript)
8. The Role of Ecology in Desert Development
Based on: Safriel U.N. "The Role of Ecology in Desert Development", Journal of Arid Lands Studies, 1995(5): 351-354.



9. Physical Environment and Social Attractiveness of Frontier Settlements: The Case of Siberia, Russia
Based on: Portnov B. (1998) "Social Attractiveness of the Urban Physical Environment: Cities of Siberia," Annals of Regional Science. 32(4): 525-548
Portnov B, Maslovskiy V. (1996) "Residential Land Attractiveness in an Emerging Property Market: The Case of Krasnoyarsk, Russia", Netherlands Journal of Housing and Built Environment, 11(2): 107-130
10. The Evolution of Urban Space in the Desert: The Case of Be'er Sheva, Israel
Based on: Meir I.A. (1992). "Urban Space Evolution in the Desert: The Case of Be'er Sheva" Building and Environment, 27(1): 1-11.
11. An Experimental Evaluation of Strategies for Reducing Airborne Dust in Desert Cities
E.Erell and H.Tsoar
Based on: Erell, E., Tsoar, H. (1997) "An Experimental Evaluation of Strategies for Reducing Airborne Dust in Desert Cities," Building and Environment, 32(3): 225-236.
12. Planning in Desert Environments: Three Cases of Responsive Planning
Based on: Gradus Y., and Stern E.(1985) "From Preconceived to Responsive Planning: Cases of Settlement Design in Arid Environments," in Y.Gradus "Desert Development," Dordrecht, D.Reidel Publishing Company.
13. The Past as a key for the Future in Resettling the Desert



14. A Desert Solar Neighborhood in Sede-Boker, Israel
Based on: Etzion Y. (1989) "A Desert Solar Neighborhood in Sede-Boker, Israel," Architectural Science Review, 3: 103-109.
15. A Bio-climatic Approach to Desert Architecture
Based on: Etzion, Y. (1994) A Bio-climatic Approach to Desert Architecture, Arid Lands, The University of Arizona Press, pp. 12-19.
16. Microclimatic Considerations in the Design of Open Spaces in Desert Cities
D.Pearlmutter and P.Berliner
Based on: Pearlmutter D. (1998) " Street Canyon Geometry and Microclimate: Designing for Urban Comfort under Arid Conditions" in Environmentally Friendly Cities, Proceeding of PLEA' 98, Lisbon, Portugal, June 1998, pp. 163-166.
17. Adaptive Architecture: Integrating Low-energy Technologies for Climate Control in the Desert
Y.Etzion, D.Pearlmutter, E.Erell, and I.A. Meir
Based on: (1997) Etzion Y., Pearlmutter D., Erell E., and Meir I.A. "Adaptive Architecture: Integrating Low-energy Technologies for Climate Control in the Desert", Automation in Construction 6: 417-425.



18. Desert Settlements in Israel: Socio-economic and Physical Data
B.A.Portnov and W.R.Mozafi-Haller



Following the introductory chapter (Chapter 1), the book consists of four parts, each of which considers different conceptual levels of desert development: I. Regional Development and Population Change; II. Cities of Cold and Hot Deserts, III. Building and Design, and IV. Case Studies.

In addition to the Israeli experience, the book includes research and design from other countries which face acute problems of regional development in climatically extreme areas, i.e. either cold or hot deserts. In Chapter 2, Portnov and Erell compare long-term patterns of both economic development and population growth in desert and non-desert urban settlements of Israel using three major criteria: the overall rate of population growth, the structure of population growth, and the rate of private construction in the locality. It is argued that in comparison with urban settlements located in central, "non-desert" districts of the country, peripheral desert communities exhibit wider fluctuations of economic activity, unstable population growth, and an attenuation of general urbanization trends that manifest themselves elsewhere in the country's urban areas.

Portnov and Pearlmutter (Chapter 3) analyze the potential of the 'migration balance - natural growth' ratio (the MB/NG ratio) as a general indicator of sustainability exhibited by an urban settlement in its population growth. It is argued that as long as a locality maintains its attractiveness to in-country migrants and foreign immigrants, its population growth can be considered as sustainable. Using extensive statistical data for urban settlements in Israel, the authors argue that after reaching a particular size (on the average, 20-30,000 residents), urban localities in the country tend to experience substantial changes in the components of their annual population growth. Starting with this inflection point, the growth of settlements gradually becomes less dependent on natural causes (fertility and mortality rates) than on the ability to attract newcomers and retain current residents. On the basis of this conclusion, a strategy of 'redirecting priorities' to developing the peripheral regions of the country is suggested. This strategy proposes the concentration of state and local financial resources on selected development settlements until they reach the above population threshold and become more attractive for newcomers, followed by the sequential transfer of this support to other small urban localities in frontier areas.

Another criterion for gauging the degree of sustainability exhibited by urban settlements - the rate of private construction - is discussed by Portnov and Pearlmutter in Chapter 4. The authors suggest that the extent to which a particular urban locality is able to attract private developers can be considered as a prominent indicator of its socio-economic prosperity. In the case of Israel, the highest per capita rates of private construction are found in settlements of a particular size (70,000-80,000 residents).

The set of criteria developed in Chaps. 3 and 4 (the MB/NG ratio, and the rate of private construction) is used by Portnov and Erell in Chapter 5 for studying the effect of remoteness and isolation on the development of peripheral settlements. In this study, three sets of small urban communities in Israel - core settlements, desert localities, and small towns in the Galilee - are mutually compared. Sustained growth was found to be related to the location of the settlement, and in particular to the spatial characteristics of a cluster of urban localities of which the town may be a part. An index of clustering was defined, which allows an analysis of the combined effect on population growth of spatial isolation and distance from major metropolitan centers of the country, an a minimal population size of settlement cluster is determined, which is conducive to the sustainable growth of peripheral urban localities.

Portnov (Chapter 6) analyses the factors and forces affecting the degree of attractiveness of various geographic areas to migrants. He argues that interregional migration is a function of the interrelationship between employment growth and housing availability in the area: When these factors grow in tandem, there is little change in net migration; interregional migration occurs when, because of the scarcity of land, a large influx of immigrants, or a government policy, housing and employment in a region are in imbalance.

Portnov (Chapter 7) discuss a methodological approach for evaluating the effect of regional policy on patterns of inter-regional population growth. It is suggested that the effect of a policy can be investigated by comparing the actual disparity in population between core and periphery regions to the disparity that would have been achieved in the absence of policy intervention. To test this hypothesis, the policy of population dispersal in Israel was considered. The analysis indicated that although the national policy of population dispersal, aimed at achieving a more even distribution of the country's population, generally failed to reduce the population imbalance between central core and periphery, this policy appears to have prevented the population gap from becoming even wider.

Safriel (Chapter 8) examines the role of ecology in the development of desert regions. Profitable and sustainable development options are, he argues, the export of desert assets: solar energy, cash crops that grow better in desert than elsewhere, and wilderness for tourism. The role of ecology is to prescribe optimal land allocation for the various uses, depending on ecological conditions along the aridity gradient of hyper-arid, arid, semiarid and dry-subhumid drylands.

Portnov (Chapter 9) investigates intra-city divergences in the level of social attractiveness of urban areas in the major population centers of Russian Siberia. Two different approaches - sociological poll and expert survey - are used to investigate urban inequalities in this unique geographic region of cold deserts.

The evolution of the urban environment in another climatically extreme region - the Negev desert of Israel - is analyzed by Meir in Chapter 10. Using the case of Be'er Sheva, the capital of the Negev desert, the author argues that abstract planning and design theories, disconnected from the environment and its constraints are often costly and problematic in such extreme environments as the desert. A number of alternatives, such as locally-oriented planning and design solutions are suggested to improve the quality of the urban environment in the area.

The effect of building shapes on the dry deposition of dust in urban areas is investigated by Erell and Tsoar in Chapter 11. The study suggests that strategies commonly employed in the design of buildings and urban spaces to reduce exposure to dust, such as the construction of walled courtyards, are not effective. A significant reduction in the concentration of dust near buildings in desert cities may require a comprehensive approach that deals with the entire urban area and its immediate surroundings. This approach should lead to reducing the availability of erodible particles by means of planting or paving all exposed land surfaces.

The idea of environment-responsive urban design and planning for extreme desert environments is discussed by Gradus and Stern in Chapter 12. The authors argue that preconceived urban models cannot simply be 'applied' to arid zones, since cultural and environmental considerations are essential for the implementation of such projects. To achieve a better quality of urban environment in the desert, moving from the preconceived to responsive planning is needed. The concept of responsive planning is illustrated by three development projects in the Negev desert of Israel.

The effect of climatic changes on long-term regional development is studied by Issar (Chapter 13). The author traces the historical patterns of settlement and migration in parallel with evidence for temperature change and humidity, using the Middle East as an example. In the region, the warmest and driest periods of the past 5000 years are coincident with the largest invasions of desert tribes into agricultural lands and the desertion of cities along the margins of the desert.

Etzion (Chapter 14) discusses the design approaches and principles laid in the foundation of a desert solar neighborhood in Sede-Boker, Israel. In this design, a special effort was made to respond to questions of orientation of building, solar rights, air circulation, building clustering, and the relationship between open and closed spaces.

A bio-climatic approach to desert architecture is investigated by Etzion in Chapter 15. Desert architecture is perceived as "Architecture of the Extremes," being similar to architecture in other regions but differentiated from it by its obligation to address needs and problems of an extreme character. The author argues that such architecture should be able to improve the thermal performance of buildings without the use of artificial means and expendable energy. This approach is illustrated by the Etzion House in the Neve-Zin neighborhood in Sede-Boker, Israel. The house was designed and built by the author of this chapter.

Pearlmutter (Chapter 16) analyses the influence which built form may have on urban microclimate, and on the resulting comfort conditions for pedestrians within a desert city. Rather than relying on accepted "myths" concerning the benefit or liability of compact urban planning under hot-dry conditions, the author presents a study which combines physical microclimatic observation with an integrated energy-exchange model to determine the relative impact which densely-built "street canyon" spaces have on a person's thermal relationship to his urban environment. Carried out in one of several "example neighborhoods" which were built in the arid Negev region of Israel in response to the perceived inadequacies of previous European-style planning, the study concludes that a compact urban fabric, with proper attention to a range of physical details, may provide certain amenities which are unique to the cities of desert regions.

A 'climatically adaptive' approach to intelligent building in which a variety of technologies are integrated is discussed by Etzion et al. (Chapter 17). This concept is illustrated by the design of a multi-use building complex in the Negev region of Israel. In this design, a number of strategies were developed to exploit natural energy for heating and cooling: earth berming of major parts of the building, 'selective glazing' for seasonal shading and energy collection, and a downdraft 'cool-tower' for evaporative cooling.

Six case studies on desert towns in the Negev region of Israel are presented by Portnov and Motzafi-Haller in Chapter 18. Statistical data are listed for comparing the state of development of these towns to the region in which they are located, and the rest of the country. Appearances typical to the towns are shown in photographs.