Population and Environment

, Volume 31, Issue 4, pp 223–254 | Cite as

Population and pavement: population growth and land development in Israel

  • Daniel E. OrensteinEmail author
  • Steven P. Hamburg
Original Paper


This research examines land use change in Israel––an intriguing but understudied setting with regard to population–environment dynamics. While Israel is fairly unique with regard to its combined high levels of economic prosperity and high population growth, this case study has relevance for developed countries and regions (like the south and southwest regions of the USA) which must balance population growth and urban development with open space conservation for ecosystem services and biological diversity. The population–land development relationship is investigated during the period from 1961 to 1995 at three spatial scales: national, regional (six districts), and local (40 localities). There is a positive correlation between population growth and land development rates at the national scale, and while remaining positive, the strength of the relationship varies greatly at regional and local scales. The variation in population–land use dynamics across scales is used to garner insight as to the importance of geography, policy and historical settlement patterns.


Land use/land cover change Urbanization Open space preservation Population growth Land use policy Israel 



We would like to thank Leah Van Wey, Jeff Albert, Brian O’Neill, Michael White, Barbara Entwistle, Lori Hunter, Bethany Bradley, Jeremy Fisher, and two anonymous reviewers for their ideas and recommendations; David Lindstrom for his assistance with the statistical analysis; and Lynn Carlson for her assistance with the GIS analysis. Spatial data were generously provided by the GIS unit of Keren Kayameth L’Israel (central division), and by the cartography library of Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Funding was provided through a Luce Environmental Graduate Student Fellowship to Daniel Orenstein.


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Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Faculty of Architecture and Town PlanningTechnion––Israel Institute of TechnologyTechnion CityIsrael
  2. 2.Center for Environmental Studies, Brown UniversityProvidenceUSA

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