Land ownership as a determinant in the formation of residential areas in Arab localities

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This article examines the implications and significance of land ownership trends, on shaping the spatial residential landscape in Arab localities in Israel. Residential areas in Arab localities were characterised by ethnic-group or clan separation. Each clan or group resided in an homogeneous neighborhood, which, when compared to contiguous spatial residential areas, became heterogeneous. This phenomenon was preserved due to considerations of residential location relating to the land ownership pattern. A change in the land ownership pattern created neighboring, heterogeneous, ethnic residential spaces albeit homogeneous in origin or status. The article is based on literature and research published on the issue, as well as on interviews with land owners, planners and policy makers in three localities: Kafar Kana, She'faram and Um-AlFahm. Land ownership in all three localities was mapped in an outline plan and an affiliative map of households, according to principal clan or ethnic group, including migrant households identified in these localities. An analysis of and a comparison between the map of land ownership and that of affiliative households were also carried out. The research areas, selected to represent Arab localities, were described from aspects of geographic environment, size of population, ethnic composition and municipal development. This was followed by a review of the development of the land ownership pattern in Arab localities, based on the Ottoman Land Act of 1858. The built-up rural expanse was also examined as was the city-scape. The article defines the development of four landless groups who contributed to the shift in the traditional residential distribution pattern. These groups were demanding residential land in their localities and wherever land was available they purchased it and built their homes. Concurrently, the article relates to the various sources of land for residential building. It attempts to summarize the implications of the demand for land compared with its supply, by drafting a schematic model which will conclude the changing trends in residential development in Arab localities.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-224
Number of pages14
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1995
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Acknowledgement-This paper is part of the result of a research project undertaken at the Truman Institute, Hebrew University in 1992,a bout ‘The Arabs in Israel as a formation political community’; I want to thank this Institute for the grant.

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science


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