TPR, 69 (4) 1998
BARRIE NEEDHAM AND ROELOF VERHAGE
Housing and land in Israel and The
A comparison of policies and their
consequences for access to housing
This paper examines the availability of housing in Israel and The Netherlands.
Both are small, densely populated countries where land and planning policies
affect housing supply significantly. The differences in house prices and densities
between the two countries are due to the way land and planning policy is
pursued. In The Netherlands, policies are used actively to ensure a plentiful
supply of cheap land for housing, whereas in Israel severe restrictions are placed
on the transfer of land into housing use. The comparison highlights the effects
of policy choices and questions the effects of those choices on access to housing
in the future.
Access to housing
Most countries have as an aim of public policy that their citizens be well housed
at a reasonable price. One aspect of this can be expressed in terms of the price of
housing relative to incomes: the lower that relative price, the better the access to
housing. Governments take many actions to achieve that aim: stimulating
increases in construction efficiency, giving subsidies, making loans available, and
Housing cannot be built without land, so land supply is usually part of
housing policy. However, the supply of land is also affected by other types of
public policy. One is spatial planning, which affects how much land may be used
for housing and where. The other is land policy, by which the public
administration tries to realise its ideas about how land should be supplied,
Barrie Needham is Professor of Spatial Planning and Roelof Verhage is a PhD research student,
both at the School for Planning and Environment, University of Nijmegen, PO Box 9108, 6500
HK, Nijmegen, The Netherlands.
Paper submitted December 1996; revised paper received November 1997 and accepted
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