Academic journal article Journal of Urban and Regional Analysis

Residential Differentiation at Two Geographic Scales - the Metropolitan Area and the City: The Case of Tel Aviv

Academic journal article Journal of Urban and Regional Analysis

Residential Differentiation at Two Geographic Scales - the Metropolitan Area and the City: The Case of Tel Aviv

Article excerpt


The concept 'scale' is various defined in research of city. As Batty (2005) points out, we use scale to describe two things: the level of resolution at which we observe the city, such as streets and neighborhoods, and the level of functional differentiation that takes place at diverse locations or city sizes (Batty 2005, p. 34-36). These two meanings of scale are central to the research of urban residential differentiation or segregation. Yet, the literature often does not clearly distinguish between the two meanings, a situation that has led to their inconsistent application. Here we use the term 'level of resolution' to refer to the size of the spatial unit for which data are collected (e.g., streets, blocks, quarters) and the term 'geographic scale' to refer to the various functional levels of a geographic area (i.e., the location in which residential segregation is examined, such as the nation-state, county, metropolitan area and city)1).

The research of residential differentiation in cities varies by the level of resolution, the analysis of socio-demographic variables (e.g. socio-economic status and ethnicity) and the dimensions of segregation (e.g., evenness, exposure and clustering) examined. Common to most of this research is the concentration on one geographic scale, whether metropolitan areas, cities, or counties. We consequently have relatively little information regarding the extent of residential differentiation and its spatial expression at different geographic scales (Reardon et al., 2009).

The geographic scale at which residential differentiation appears dominant is a crucial variable for the description and understanding of residential segregation and inter-group exposure. In recognition of its importance, several authors have recently referred to the intensity of segregation - especially racial segregation - at different scales: tracts, cities, and suburbs in U.S. metropolitan areas (Farrell, 2008; Fischer, 2004; Reardon et al., 2008; 2009). Analysis of residential segregation at different geographic scales is also necessary to improve our understanding of the development of metropolitan areas impacts on the social segregation within cities and suburbs as well as the spatial expression of that segregation. Such an analysis would enable the investigation of questions such as: Are the social dimensions of residential differentiation and their spatial expression similar on the metropolitan and the city scale?Does the classic three-factor model of residential differentiation (family status, socio-economic status and ethnicity) and its spatial expression as elaborated in 'factorial social ecology' (also known as 'social ecology' or 'urban ecology') studies apply equally to the metropolitan and the city scale (Fischer, 2004)?

The aim of the current study is to investigate the socio-spatial structure of the Tel Aviv metropolitan area in its 1995 structure at two geographic scales. The first analyzes the Tel Aviv metropolitan area as one spatial entity; the second examines the 22 cities located within that area. The Tel Aviv metropolitan area is currently at an advanced stage of development when compared to other metropolitan areas in Israel (Shachar, 1997); its residents in 1995 represent 57% of Israel's total urban population. Based on the factorial social ecology methodology as applied to cities, we examine the relative involvement and importance of socio-economic status, ethnicity and family status as sources for the formation of residential patterns of diverse social areas on each of the two scales.

The examination of socio-spatial structure on these two scales will enable formation of responses to two questions. First, how is Israel's social structure reflected in residential patterns on both these levels? An especially salient factor requiring in-depth study among the Jewish population is ethnicity. In Israel, this factor is related to the country of origin, most commonly between "Mizrahim" (of Near Eastern and African origin) and "Ashkenazim" (of European and American origin). …

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