Patterns of development and conservation in agricultural lands-The case of the Tel Aviv metropolitan region 1990-2000

Tseira Maruani, Irit Amit-Cohen

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12 Scopus citations


Until the 1990s Israel was implementing a strict agricultural land preservation policy program, rooted in Zionist ideology. This was changed when shifts in Israeli planning and land policy towards the end of the 20th century brought about accelerated growth and sprawling development in agricultural lands at the urban-rural fringe, particularly in the Tel Aviv metropolitan region (TMR). In this article we describe the background for policy shifts and the resulting impact on metropolitan growth, and then proceed to identify patterns of development in former agricultural lands and their impact on conservation, based on a study of statutory land use plans converting agricultural land to built-up uses within the TMR. It was found that most of the plans were converting large tracts of agricultural land to residential uses, characterized by low-density suburban-type family housing, thus reducing considerably the spatial conservation potential. In addition, only relative small portions of land were conserved as public open space within plans' boundaries, and even then only about half of that was actually effective for active open space uses. The emerging patterns of development and conservation in agricultural lands call for a renewed examination of the two systems that control development in Israel - the planning system and the lands administration - considering among others substituting the declining traditional Zionist ideology by environmental values as rationale for preservation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)671-679
Number of pages9
JournalLand Use Policy
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2010


  • Agricultural land
  • Israel
  • Land use planning
  • Metropolitan development
  • Open space conservation
  • Zionist ideology


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