The actual impact of comprehensive land-use plans: Insights from high resolution observations

Nurit Alfasi, Jonatan Almagor, Itzhak Benenson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Like most EU and US planning systems, planning in Israel aims to promote certainty regarding future development by employing statutory land-use plans for stabilizing and binding the development of land use. In Israel, district planning from the 1980s onwards took place in the form of long-term land-use plans. However, in practice, Israeli planning witnessed a movement toward discretionary-oriented decision-making, providing for revisions of the land-use plans and subsequently diminishing its efficacy. A pending reform suggests eliminating district land-use plans and absorbing them into national and local plans. Concerning the debate on the future of the Israeli planning system, this research aims to assess the gap between certainty-oriented regulation and actual development, often occurring on a case-by-case basis. Our aim is to evaluate the actual performance of a district land-use plan, focusing particularly on aspects of land-use. Remote Sensing and GIS-based Plan Implementation Evaluation (PIE) analysis was used to test the impact of a comprehensive outline plan for Israel's Central District on the actual development of the built environment. The results show fundamental gaps between the original land-use assignments of the district plan and actual development. The limited effectiveness of regulatory land-use planning for complex, densely populated districts is then discussed in line with the certainty-flexibility dilemma in land-use planning and the structure of planning decision-making in Israel.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)862-877
Number of pages16
JournalLand Use Policy
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2012


  • Israel
  • Land use planning
  • Plan Implementation Evaluation
  • Regional planning

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Forestry
  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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