The Negev, Israel's southern region, is mostly an arid desert and constitutes more than 60% of the country's territory. As in other dryland regions, population size is relatively small, comprising only 9% of Israel's total population. Planning policies in Israel for the past 60 years rarely express a bottom-up approach, but rather a centralized approach to development, derived from national ideology and the needs of a nascent state. This paper describes the place of the environment and sustainability criteria over three eras of planning the development of the Negev region. This region is one of the most challenging areas in Israel in terms of socio-economic conditions, its multi-cultural population, as well as its geographically and ecologically diverse environments. Here we illustrate a transition in relation to the planning bureaucracy to the environment: from obliviousness to rational planning to pseudo-sustainability. Thus, there is a clear tendency of the official planning institutions as well as the out-sourced governmental initiatives to increasingly pursue a more sustainable approach that seeks to integrate environmental consideration within planning processes. At the same time, however, we show the degree to which these processes are still deficient in their lack of a coherent environmental strategy and implementation by the government and its agents, and in the lack of conceptual and material resources for an integrated treatment of the Negev's social, economic and environmental problems.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Geography, Planning and Development