For a complete list of the 151 Urban Nature Sites in Jerusalem (in Hebrew), click here.
In 2010, the Society for the Protection of Nature in Israel (SPNI) in conjunction with the Jerusalem Municipality and the Ministry of Environmental Protection published the Jerusalem Urban Nature Infrastructure Survey. The first of its kind in the country, the survey integrates the urban environment into the international effort towards safeguarding biodiversity.
Jerusalem is a trailblazer in the field of urban nature in Israel. For the first time, the city integrated urban nature sites in its master plan and there are already several statutory plans for urban nature sites in development. SPNI played an integral role in ensuring this integration.
The primary goal of the Jerusalem Urban Nature Survey is to create an overall city-wide picture of the existing natural infrastructure in the city. Through developing an up-to-date database of the natural systems in the city and integrating it into municipal data systems and the Jerusalem Green Map, the survey enables a broader understanding of the natural systems within the urban context. This foundation of information represents the first step towards the creation of an urban nature master plan for the city of Jerusalem.
To preserve urban biodiversity it is essential to provide developers, planners, and decision-makers at all levels with an up-to-date, easily accessible base of information about the natural systems in the city. The survey not only provides this important foundation, but also serves to increase the synergy between tourism, education, and urban nature.
Integrating a city's natural systems and habitats into its information, planning, and development systems and encouraging their preservation and growth, forms the foundation for a sustainable urban environment.
The survey process was a cooperative effort involving a steering committee, a professional working group, and a team of surveyors.
The steering committee guided the survey process from start to finish, meeting approximately every three months. The committee included representatives from: the Ministry of Environmental Protection, the Jerusalem Municipality, the Jerusalem District Planning Office, The Ministry of Tourism, the Jerusalem Association of Community Councils and Centers, The Parks and Nature Authority, the Jewish National Fund, SPNI and others.
The professional working group, which included survey coordinators and urban planners from SPNI and the Jerusalem Municipality, developed the survey process and methodology, oversaw the field work, and authored the survey report.
Field work was conducted by a surveying team of botanists, zoologists, and ornithologists.
Throughout the process, there was continuous communication and feedback between the three groups. The acceptance and integration of the survey into local planning and policy can be attributed to the cooperative nature of the project.
The survey contains a wide variety of information and it was therefore necessary to build a complex database that could contain, classify, and present that diversity of information. The survey includes written descriptions and visual information such as photos of the sites within their geographic context.
The bulk of the data collection in the field was conducted from January to August 2009. Additional field work was done in the fall of 2009. It was important to visit the sites during different seasons of the year and to track the changes in the ecological systems accordingly.
Urban Nature Site classification
Extensive and diverse open spaces that are characteristic of outlying areas of the city, (but that can be found at times within the city as well), are often comprised of multiple habitats and natural systems. These sites are defined as natural open ensembles.These large ensemble sites are comprised of numerous natural habitats, each of which could be counted as a site of its own. The survey divides these ensemble sites into four main categories: open natural, agricultural, parkland, and built-up ensemble sites.
There are also many smaller sites situated within the urban environment that are classified according to the main forms of plant and animal life that are found at the site. Each site has a "site card” which includes detailed descriptions of site characteristics and habitats. Sites card classifications include forests, winter pools, nesting sites, and others.
The survey includes 151 urban nature sites throughout the city of Jerusalem.
The urban nature survey serves as a significant turning point in the field of biodiversity and natural infrastructure within the urban context. The findings of the urban nature survey will complement the already existing information about open spaces, built spaces, and areas planned for development in the city.
It is important to note that although access to the survey and its database will enable planners and developers in the city to consider natural infrastructure in the planning and development process, the survey is only a first step. The ultimate goal is the creation of an urban nature master plan for the city of Jerusalem.
In October 2009, Jerusalem joined the international LAB (Local Action for Biodiversity) network, a global urban biodiversity initiative launched by ICLEI (Local Governments for Sustainability) to actively pursue sustainable urban biosphere development through local initiatives.
By becoming a member of LAB, the city of Jerusalem has committed to a series of actions and reports aimed at improving biodiversity management and protection in the city. The Jerusalem Urban Nature Survey will form a significant basis for these efforts and as such the survey will receive international attention.
The preparation and publication of the Jerusalem Urban Nature Survey was possible due to the generous support of the Beracha Foundation and the Ministry of Environmental Protection, along with funding from the Jerusalem Municipality and SPNI.
The survey is a result of joint partnership and cooperation between SPNI, the Jerusalem Municipality and the Ministry of Environmental Protection. In addition, the members of the Steering Committee (listed above) provided essential assistance and guidance in the development of the survey.
All 151 of the urban nature sites surveyed are featured on the Green Map. Each site on the map includes a link to the full site card with extensive information from the survey.|
Map of the 151 Urban Nature sites featured in the survey