Yerucham is one of the development towns in the southern part of the country. The town counts approximately 10,000 inhabitants and covers an area of around 6,000 dunams, much of which is industrial land. The town population is composed mainly of those from the medium to low socioeconomic groups and is suffering from unemployment, a lack of growth accompanied by migration of stronger sectors and physical degeneration. Despite these factors, the town has clear advantages which the master plan seeks to utilize. These include:
The town’s location in the Negev mountains, a wide desert, and close to two of its main attractions – the large crater and the Yerucham lake, unique natural phenomena which attract tourists and visitors on a national scale. The plan seeks to create a link between these two sites and the city, from which the city will benefit both financially and in terms of its image.
Yerucham has the potential to become a desert tourist centre, a service town and a point of departure for desert tourist trails. The town is located in close proximity to the “spice route” and the Nabatean cities found in the Negev which were declared UNESCO “World Heritage Sites”. The plan suggests the establishment of hotels, restaurants and services in the town offering an urban perspective to the ecological tourism currently found in the Negev.
The plan also proposes regeneration and renewal of the town centre and older neighborhoods, at the same time filling the gaps in the town with a small expansion across the boundaries of the existing built up area. This expansion would best be directed towards the Ramon crater, thus strengthening the link between crater and town.