Sunday, August 31, 2014

Metropolitan Jerusalem

Yair Assaf-Shapira

A metropolis is defined as an urban area that includes a main (metropolitan) city, which constitutes the core of the metropolis, and other surrounding localities that have relations with it. There is, generally, interaction between the satellite communities of the metropolis and the metropolitan city for the purposes of employment, education, culture, shopping, and the like. The intensity of relations with the metropolitan city determines whether a locality is defined as part of the metropolis or not. Recently the Central Bureau of Statistics released new definitions for the metropolises in Israel, with Jerusalem included for the first time. Also included were the metropolises of Tel Aviv, Haifa, and Be’er Sheva. The definitions were based on the rate of employed residents of each locality who work in the main employment centers of the metropolis. About 75% of Israel’s population resides within these metropolitan areas.

Metropolitan Jerusalem has been defined as stretching from Jerusalem to Beit Shemesh in the west, and including Israeli localities in the West Bank, up to Mitzpe Yericho in the east, to Ofra in the north to Gush Etzion in the south. In all, the metropolis comprises 86 localities, and has a population of 1,164,000 residents. Metropolitan Jerusalem is the second largest, after Metropolitan Tel Aviv, which numbers 3,642,000. The metropolises of Haifa and Be’er Sheva have populations of 891,100 and 354,900 residents, respectively. 

We can learn about the character of the metropolis by looking at the population of the core city as a proportion of the entire metropolitan populace (the weight of the core city within the metropolitan area), both in spatial terms – how concentrated or scattered it is– and in economic terms – the weight of the metropolitan satellite communities and hence their potential contribution to the prosperity of the core city.

This factor varies greatly among Israel’s metropolitan areas. The population of Tel Aviv-Jaffa constitutes only 11% of the entire metropolis’s population, whereas in Jerusalem the population of the city constitutes 71% of the total for the entire metropolis. For Haifa and Be’er Sheva, the weight of the core city in each metropolis is 31% and 56%, respectively. Accordingly, the relative weight of the metropolitan city within the metropolis is lowest for Tel Aviv – an indication of the large number of residents with ties to the city, a fact that correlates with the economic prosperity of Tel Aviv-Jaffa. Jerusalem’s relative weight is the highest, correlating with the low weight of the metropolitan satellite communities and indicating that Jerusalem provides services and employment primarily to its own residents. 


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