Israel is rapidly crowding towards Tel Aviv. Central Bureau of Statistics figures show that 40% of the housing units added in the past decade in Israel were built in Tel Aviv and the cities around it. Only 12% of the units were built in the Jerusalem area, while the Haifa and Beersheva areas received 6% each.
The Central Bureau of Statistics’ survey “Homes and Buildings in the State of Israel” has monitored the number of homes in Israel’s cities and local authorities since 2012. Altogether, since that date, some 458,000 dwellings have been added in the country as a whole. Some of them are new homes, some are the result of splitting existing homes, and some are the result of urban renewal programs in which old residential blocks have been demolished and replaced with new, larger ones. The number of homes added therefore does not exactly match the number of new homes built, although there is clearly a strong connection between the two numbers.
Jerusalem has added the largest number of dwelling since 2012, some 40,600. This is more than the total number of dwellings in Herzliya, for example. There are currently 241,000 dwellings in Jerusalem, and the city will surpass the quarter of a million mark within a few years. Immediately after Jerusalem comes Tel Aviv, which has added 27,300 dwellings, slightly more than the total number of dwellings in Ra’anana. The number of dwellings in Tel Aviv currently totals 216,000.
Tel Aviv metropolitan area: Fastest growing
These two big cities have extended the gaps between them and the cities that come after them in the urban table. In Haifa, there are 124,800 dwellings, but it has added just 10,000 since 2012. In Petah Tikva there are 87,000 dwellings, with 14,000 added since 2012. Rishon LeZion, with a current total of 85,000 dwellings, and Beersheva, with a current total of 83,000, have added 12,000. All these places are along way behind Tel Aviv and Jerusalem.
A broader look reveals a deeper phenomenon. Although Jerusalem is the fastest growing city in Israel, the Tel Aviv metropolis is the fastest growing area.
A metropolis is defined as a web of neighboring settlements between the residents of which there are connections in employment, education, culture, and shopping. Each metropolis has a dominant large city, the kernel of the metropolis, surrounding which there are rings of settlements . The connections between these settlements are measured by the frequency of journeys between them.
In Gush Dan, surrounding Tel Aviv, for example, a substantial proportion of the residents travel between cities for work, entertainment, or shopping.
Gush Dan, however, is only the inner part of the Tel Aviv metropolis. The Central Bureau of Statistics finds that this metropolis actually extends from Ashdod in the south to Netanya in the north. The last time the Central Bureau of Statistics measured journeys in this area was in 2008, but the metropolis is only expanding and becoming stronger. Today, it probably also includes Ashkelon in the south and Hadera in the north. An up-to-date picture will become available in a few years time when census results are analyzed. For the time being, Ashkelon and Hadera’s numbers have not been included in the Tel Aviv metropolis.
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It turns out that 40% of the additional dwellings since 2012 are in this metropolis. Most of them (over 80,000) have been added in the middle ring of cities, within a 10-20 kilometer radius of Tel Aviv, among them Rishon LeZion, Rehovot and Nes Ziona in the south, Ramla and Lod in the east, and Rosh Ha’ayin in the north. Cities in the outer ring, from Netanya in the north to Modi’in in the east and Ashdod in the south, have added some 37,000 dwellings, while in the inner ring of cities closest to Tel Aviv, Holon, Bat Yam, Givatayim, Ramat Hasharon, Ramat Gan, and Bnei Brak, 35,000 dwellings have been added.
Ability to develop the periphery declining
12% of all the additional dwellings are in the Jerusalem metropolis, with most of them in Jerusalem itself, and most of the rest in Beit Shemesh. 29,000 dwellings have been added in the Haifa metropolis, a third in Haifa itself and the rest divided between the Krayot, Tiral Hacarmel, Nahariya, and Acre. In the southern metropolis of Beersheva and its surroundings, some 26,000 dwellings have been added since 2012, about 12,000 of them in Beersheva itself, 5,000 in Netivot, and 3,000 in Sderot.
There is much significance in these numbers. They chiefly indicate a growing gap between the center of Israel and its periphery. The more people flock to the center, the less it is possible genuinely to develop the periphery, as relatively fewer people make it less worthwhile investing in projects in remote areas.
This will continue to strengthen the trend in the Tel Aviv area, which together with Jerusalem will be an area of high demand, while other regions will continue to be in low demand, and will struggle to develop.
Beyond that, the continuing rapid growth of the Tel Aviv metropolis underlines the need for transport solutions in the near future, and not years from now, as in the case of the Metro, the fate of which is still not clear.
Published by Globes, Israel business news – en.globes.co.il – on January 23, 2023.
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