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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Land Use and Quality of Life in 45 Israeli Cities

  • Author(s): Becker, Sarah J.
  • et al.

This research tested the hypothesis that a latent construct of quality of life (QOL) in Israel is predictable from key socioeconomic and environmental variables associated with land use across 45 cities. Data were acquired from the Israel Central Bureau of Statistics, the International Policy Institute for Counter-Terrorism, and Landsat 7. The environmental variables included the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) and percent of built land. Demographic and socioeconomic variables included average income per capita (between 672 and 4,569 shekels/month), percent of new motor vehicles (12.24-41.15%), median age (12-38 years of age), percent of students in each city between 20 and 29 years of age (0.10-34.57%), percent of families with 4 or more children (2.32-49.38%), population (9,302-646,279 inhabitants), and the number of violent terrorist attacks per city (0 -52 attacks in 1999). The socioeconomic and environmental data were evaluated using correlation coefficients and principal components analysis to characterize QOL. The NDVI showed a weak positive correlation with percent of built land (r = 0.130; p = 0.361) and strong correlations with average income per capita (r = 0.579; p = 0.000), median age (r = .388; p = 0.008), percent of new motor vehicles (r = 0.472,p = 0.001), percent of families with 4 or more children (r = -0.480; p = 0.001), and percent of people in each city between 20 and 29 years who are students (r = 0.532;p = 0.000). Percent of built land showed a significant relationship with median age (r = 0.352; p = 0.018) and percent of new motor vehicles (r= 0.337; p = 0.024). Principal components analysis supported the grouping of all socioeconomic variables, but interestingly, NDVI did not cluster with this group. Although NDVI correlates with specific socioeconomic variables, NDVI was not found in this study to be a predictor of QOL in the Israeli cities. These results demonstrate a quantifiable relationship between components of QOL and environmental characteristics that can aid policymakers in planning for emerging problems that impact human lives, such as climate change and drought within the context of variable socioeconomic factors.

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