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Urban & Regional Planning in Arid Zones
 
Research at the level of urban and regional planning is aimed at determining strategies which can facilitate sustainable urban development in peripheral desert areas. Since agriculture and rural settlement are limited by the constraints of the arid environment, understanding the specifics of desert urbanization (migration patterns, investment attractiveness, criteria for sustainable growth, etc.) is considered an essential requirement for sustaining future human settlement in peripheral desert regions.
Recent investigations into urban and regional planning issues include:

 

 

Development Peculiarities of Peripheral Desert Settlements

Selected statistical time-series covering the 30-year-period of 1965-1994 were studied to determine general trends of both economic development and population growth of urban settlements in the Negev desert of Israel. The research indicated that in comparison with urban settlements located in central "non-desert" districts of the country, peripheral desert localities tend to exhibit wider fluctuations of economic activity, unstable population growth, and an attenuation of general urbanization trends that manifest themselves elsewhere across the country. The research led to a set of analytical models designed to explain development peculiarities of peripheral desert settlements. In addition, several planning strategies were proposed, aimed at enhancing the socio-economic sustainability of existing settlements in peripheral desert areas and facilitating prospective urban development there. These include: 1) the establishment of development clusters consisting of urban settlements which share some essential inter-regional functions such as employment, educational, cultural, and recreational services and facilities; 2) the adoption of a system of progressive economic incentives to promote private investment in peripheral desert areas; and 3) stricter regulation of land use in the central, non-desert regions of the country. Although the analysis was restricted to small and medium urban settlements in Israel, the mode of analysis and its practical applications can be useful for urban and regional planning elsewhere.

For more details see:

Portnov B., Erell E. (1998) "Development Peculiarities of Peripheral Desert Settlements," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, 22 (2): 216-232.

Portnov B., Erell A., Pearlmutter D. (1997) "Development Peculiarities of Urban Settlements in the Negev," Working Paper Series No 9. Be'er Sheva: Negev Center for Regional Development. 29 p.

Portnov B.A. (1999) "Introduction - Desert Regions: Development Issues, Definitions and Criteria." In: Portnov B, Hare A.P. (eds.) Desert Regions: Population, Migration, and Environment. Springer Verlag, Heindelberg (in press).

Portnov B.A., Erell E. (1999) "Long-term Development patterns of Peripheral Desert Settlements." In: Portnov B, Hare A.P. (eds.) Desert Regions: Population, Migration, and Environment. Springer Verlag, Heindelberg (in press).

Portnov B.A., Mozafi-Haller W.R. (1999) "Desert Settlements in Israel: Socio-economic and Physical Data." In: Portnov B, Hare A.P. (eds.) Desert Regions: Population, Migration, and Environment. Springer Verlag, Heindelberg (in press).

 

Sustainability of Urban Growth in Peripheral Areas

The research considered the factors and preconditions affecting the degree of sustainability exhibited by peripheral urban settlements in their population growth. The following issues were addressed: 1) core vs. periphery: inequalities and development needs; 2) development peculiarities of peripheral urban settlements; 3) criteria for sustainable urban growth; 4) factors influencing urban growth in peripheral areas, and 5) planning strategies for sustainable development in peripheral regions. Two major theoretical conclusions were reached. First, it was concluded that the sustainability of population growth in an urban settlement could be determined primarily by the settlemenmt's ability to attract newcomers and retain current residents (migration attractiveness), relative to its rate of natural growth. Second, it was shown that the preconditions which are essential for sustainable population growth in peripheral areas, are not identical to those in the core. In the special case of small, peripheral urban communities in Israel, sustainable population growth was found to be related to the location of the settlement, and in particular to the spatial characteristics of a cluster of urban settlements of which it 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.

For more details see:

Portnov B., Pearlmutter D. (1999) Sustainability of Urban Growth in Peripheral Areas: Factors and Paradigms of Regional Planning." In: Progress in Planning Monograph Series. Elsevier, London, 120 pp. (accepted for publication in 1999).

Portnov B., Pearlmutter D. (1999) "Private Construction as a General Indicator of Urban Development: The Case of Israel," International Planning Studies 4(1): 133-161

Portnov B., Erell E. (1998) "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., Pearlmutter D. (1997) "Sustainability of Population Growth: A Case Study of Urban Settlements in Israel," Review of Urban and Regional Development Studies, 9(2): 129-145.

Portnov BA, Pearlmutter D. (1999) "Sustainable Population Growth of Urban Settlements." In: Portnov B, Hare A. (eds.) Desert Regions: Population, Migration, and Environment. Springer Verlag, Heindelberg (in press).

Portnov BA, Pearlmutter D. (1999) "Private Construction as a general Indicator of urban Development." In: Portnov B, Hare A. (eds.) Desert Regions: Population, Migration, and Environment. Springer Verlag, Heindelberg (in press).

Portnov BA, Erell E. (1999) "The Effect of Remoteness and isolation on the Development of Peripheral Settlements." In: Portnov B, Hare A. (eds.) Desert Regions: Population, Migration, and Environment. Springer Verlag, Heindelberg (in press).

Portnov B., Erell E. (1998) "Sustainability of Urban growth in Peripheral Areas: The Case of Israel." In: Urban Development: A Challenge for Frontier Regions, Proceedings of the Second International Conference, Be'er Sheva, Israel, April 4-7, 1998.

Portnov B., Pearlmutter D. (1998) "The Rate of Private Construction as a Comprehensive Indicator of Urban Growth." In: Urban Development: A Challenge for Frontier Regions, Proceedings of the Second International Conference, Be'er Sheva, Israel, April 4-7, 1998.

 

The Effect of Employment and Housing on Migration in Israel

The analysis of 1988-1994 statistical data led to the conclusion that the population of Israel simultaneously moves in two opposite directions: while the initial distribution of new immigrants is primarily focused on the areas where jobs are available, the existing population of these areas tends to move outward, to the less populated districts where housing is more available and affordable. It is also argued that a) the effect of housing construction on the patterns of in-country migration appears to be attenuated, and b) the low attractiveness of peripheral districts of the country to the new immigrants is mainly caused by a lack of jobs rather than by low rates of housing construction or the harsh climatic conditions of these areas.

For more details see:

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. (1998) "The Effect of Housing on Migrations in Israel: 1988-94," Journal of Population Economics, 11(3): 379-394.

Portnov B.A. (1999) "Modeling the Migration Attractiveness of a Region." In: Portnov B, Hare A. (eds.) Desert Regions: Population, Migration, and Environment. Springer Verlag, Heindelberg (in press).

Portnov B.A. (1999) "Investigating the Effect of Public policy on Urban Growth in peripheral Areas." In: Portnov B, Hare A. (eds.) Desert Regions: Population, Migration, and Environment. Springer Verlag, Heindelberg (in press).

 

Social Attractiveness of the Urban Environment and Land Appraisal in Transitional Economy

Sociological polls and expert studies were used to determine the patterns of urban land attractiveness in residential and non-residential districts in Siberian cities of Russia. The research indicated that social attractiveness of the urban physical environment does not reflect accurately genuine qualities of this environment. It was found, in particular, that social assessments of various urban areas reflect the combination of at least three main environmental and social determinants: 1) average level of urban development; 2) range of city environmental qualities, and 3) the social composition of city population. There were also found significant differences between environmental priorities of the general city population and the professional values and priorities of experts and city officials traditionally implemented in the process of professional decision-making. A system of indices (the Index of Prestige, the Residents' Evaluation Index, the Business Attractiveness Index) are proposed for use during the transition from a planned to a market economy, for both long-term planning and urban land appraisal.

For more details see:

Portnov B.A. (1999) "Physical Environment and Social Attractiveness of Frontier Settlements." In: Portnov B, Hare A. (eds.) Desert Regions: Population, Migration, and Environment. Springer Verlag, Heindelberg (in press).

Portnov B. (1998) "Social Attractiveness of the Urban Physical Environment," Annals of Regional Science 32(4): 325-348.

Portnov B.A. Deddies, W.G., McCluskey, W.J. and Kucharska-Stasiak, E. (1997) "Addressing the distinctive problems of urban land appraisal in a transitional economy," Journal of Tax Assessment & Administration, 3(1): 57-77.

Portnov B. Maslovskiy V. (1996) "Residential Land Attractiveness in an Emerging Property Market," Netherlands Journal of Housing and Built Environment, 11(2): 107-130.

Portnov B. Maslovskiy V. (1996) "Integral Evaluation of Environment as a Tool of Urban Planning," Housing Construction (Zhilishnoe Stroitelstvo), 11(467): 10-13 (in Russian).

Portnov B. (1994) "The Social Status of Housing Neighborhoods: Research and Practice," Scandinavian Housing & Planning Research, Vol.1

Portnov B. "Increase in Town Territory Effectiveness under Changing Socio-Economic Conditions," Modeling, Measurement & Control D 10(1): 1-28

 

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