Demographic sustainability and rural development policy

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6 Scopus citations


This paper develops the notion, and demonstrates the use, of 'demographic sustainability' in updating the national policy for rural development in northern Israel. The current national master plan defines a maximum growth size allowed for each settlement in both the urban and the rural sectors. The growth size policy is solely based on geo-political considerations. Although, aggregatively, the northern rural periphery still has a large population absorption capacity, the overall policy does not fit to the local potential and the individual needs and wills of many settlements. The wide literature on rural development points out that the heterogeneous character of the rural areas dictates a differential and flexible policy allowing its implementation according to the individual various physical, demographic, institutional, cultural, and geo-political conditions. Israel's northern rural periphery is not excluded in that regard and therefore, its settling authorities were looking to update the rural development policy. A GIS-based spatial search and mapping procedure was developed to identify and map the settlements in rank order of intervening needs in population policy. The procedure is focusing around three pivots: accelerators, limitations, and opportunities. Accelerators are the main reason for policy update and include the individual levels of demographic sustainability and relative free absorption capacity of each settlement. Demographic sustainability is defined by the type and the size of the local 'dependency ratio' in order to ensure a multi-age structure and generational continuity of rural settlements in the national periphery. Limitations include environmental sensitivity to development and large absorption capacities. Opportunities include small absorption capacities and favorite conditions for settlement clustering. A three-stage sieving procedure, according to the three pivots, enabled to produce a final map showing, in a descending-order, the need for policy intervention of each settlement. Practically, the map exhibits the role of demographic sustainability in directing the development policy in a, most frequently, losing-population rural region.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)154-160
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Maps
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Jun 2013


  • demographic
  • rural development
  • sustainability

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences (miscellaneous)


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