Landscape Change in Artas

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Perception of Landscape Change in the rural areas of Artas, Palestine by Samar Nazer

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Name Artas Valley
Location Bethlahem Governerate,central mountains of Palestine
Country Palestine
Topic Perception of Landscape change
Office office or planner/designer
Client please enter the client here
Completion Please enter the date of completion
Project costs Please enter the costs (if known)
Case study author(s) Samar Nazer(s)
Samer project.jpg
<googlemap version="0.9" lat="31.705095" lon="35.196075" width="300" height="250">


Rationale: Why is this case study interesting?

  • Please summarise:- e.g. Design Innovation? Planning Exemplar? Theoretical Insights? Lessons learned from its failure? [It doesn’t have to have been successful]

The Artas Valley is one of the most significant places in Palestine historically, agriculturally, ecologically and in recreational terms. The majority of Artas’ inhabitants are engaged in traditional agriculture, mainly growing vegetables and fruit trees, olive groves, and vineyards. In recent years the population of Artas has grown rapidly, resulting in an increase in the demand for houses and more intense use of natural resource. The consequence has been an expansion of the built-up area, and an increase in water consumption from the springs, affecting the quantity of available water. The Israeli occupation has also affected people’s way of life in a number of ways. Many have abandoned their fields to go and work in Israel. The introduction of modern technology such as fertilizers and pesticides and the use of greenhouses into agriculture have affected the environment. In addition, recreational areas are being gradually abandoned.

Thus, the Artas Valley represents an example of a spring and stream area that has been subjected to continuous landscape changes that have affected its ecosystems, ecological values, historic sites, and the scenery. This inspired me to investigate the changes in landscapes within the Palestinian cultural settings, physically and perceptually.

Author's perspective

  • What theoretical or professional perspective do you bring to the case study? Please answer from your personal perspective.

Landscape and/or urban context

  • Biogeography, cultural features, overall character, history and dynamics

Illustration: Map; sketches; short descriptive analyses

The Artas Valley is one of the most significant sites in Palestine. People of Artas depend on agriculture for their living as well as other jobs. The Artas Valley is also famous for its archaeological and historic sites, the variety of land use, the variety of vegetation and beautiful scenery. The diversity in historical, agricultural, ecological and recreational aspects, all of which made Artas as a representative area to investigate perception of people towards changing landscapes in the period from 1967 to 2006, which is considered as transition period after the Arab-Israeli war of 1967, and resulting in drastic natural and cultural landscape changes. The Artas Valley is located 2 km south of Bethlehem city and 15 km south of Jerusalem (Fig 1), with an area of about 9,740 km2. The valley lies in the central mountain chain of the West Bank and slopes towards the east and has an average elevation of about 700m above sea level (Barghouth and Jaradat, 2002). Parts of the mountains are terraced and cultivated with olive groves, vineyards and rain-fed barley and wheat. The alluvial Valley is cultivated with irrigated vegetables and fruit trees. The climate of the Artas Valley ranges from arid to semi-arid, typically with rainy winters and dry summers (ARIJ, 2002). There are five main springs in the Artas area. Most of the land of the Artas Valley is privately owned. The population of Artas village was 3552 inhabitants in 2005 (PCBS, 2006).

Cultural/social/political context

  • Brief explanation of culture, political economy, legal framework

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  • How did the area/project/plan at the focus of the case study evolve?

Illustration: Table or time line

Spatial analysis of area/project/plan

  • What are the main structural features?
  • How has it been shaped? Were there any critical decisions?

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Analysis of program/function

  • What are the main functional characteristics?
  • How have they been expressed or incorporated?

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Analysis of design/planning process

  • How was the area/project/plan formulated and implemented?
  • Were there any important consultations/collaborations?

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Analysis of use/users

  • How is the area/project/plan used and by whom?
  • Is the use changing? Are there any issues?

Illustration: Map/diagram/sketches photos and background notes

Future development directions

  • How is the area/project/plan evolving?
  • Are there any future goals?

Illustration: Map/diagram/sketches photos and background notes

Peer reviews or critique

  • Has the area/ project/plan been reviewed by academic or professional reviewers?
  • What were their main evaluations?

Pleas add references, quotes...

Points of success and limitations

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Illustration: Summary table

What can be generalized from this case study?

  • Are there any important theoretical insights?

Short statement plus background notes

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