Friday, June 15, 2018

Don't Crowd Me!

Dafna Shemer

Jerusalem is home to one tenth of Israel's population, and is the second largest Local Authority in Israel, in terms of its area of jurisdiction. Only Dimona, which enlarged its area with the addition of the Nevatim Airbase, precedes it.

But just how great is the population density in the city?

It seems that in terms of the ratio of population to jurisdiction area, the density isn't that pronounced in Jerusalem. The Local Authority in Israel with the highest population density is Bnei Brak, with a ratio of 26 people to one dunam (one dunam = 1,000 square meters). Included in the same category are: Givatayim (with a ratio of 18 people per dunam), Bat Yam, a Local Authority that doesn't have an industrial area (16 people per dunam), and Elad (with 13 per dunam). In Jerusalem, for the sake of comparison, the ratio is seven people per dunam, similar to Tel Aviv (eight people per dunam). The population density in Jerusalem is apparently similar to the latter because of the lack of construction in the city's valleys. And if you're wondering, Dimona lags far behind with 0.2 people per dunam.

Another method of evaluating the population density is according to the number of housing units per dunam. Here the picture is slightly different. While in Bnei Brak there are more people per dunam, there are fewer housing units (less households per dunam), and this may be related to the large households that are often characteristic of haredi families. But still, in Bnei Brak there are 6.1 housing units per dunam, somewhat fewer than Bat Yam (6.4 housing units per dunam), and the two together aren't equal to Givatayim, where the ratio is 7.5 housing units per dunam. In Elad, characterized by high population density, housing units are more dispersed and there are 2.1 housing units per dunam. In Jerusalem there are 1.8 housing units per dunam, which isn't a high ratio, and once again is related to the abundance of open space (53% of the area of Jerusalem). In Tel Aviv, where 26% of the area is open space, there are 3.8 housing units per dunam, only slightly higher than Jerusalem, when you take into account the open space in the two cities. The population density in Kfar Saba and Petah Tikva is greater than in Jerusalem with respect to the number of housing units per dunam (2.3), and when the open space is deducted, Kfar Saba and Jerusalem are similar, with Petah Tikva emerging with higher density, although in both these cities, unlike in Jerusalem, there are no commercial or industrial areas.

As for Dimona – 0.2 housing units per built-up dunam in this southern city…

Translated by Gilah Kahn

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