GRM 2010 GRM 2011

Abstract Details

Family Name:
Al Gharibi
First Name:
Title of Paper:
Urban growth within a finite space. Case study: Muscat
Paper Proposal Text :
Urban growth within a finite space. Case study: Muscat
Dr.Ing. Hamad Al Gharibi

Since four and half decades of physical urbanisation, Muscat, the capital city of Oman has received a massive influx of local and international migrants. Based on the National Centre of Statistics and Information (NCSI) in 2015, Muscat’s population forms more than one third of total Oman’s population. According the NCSI statistics in 2010, Muscat represents the highest rate of urban population in Oman by 97.44% (almost 36% of the total urban population in Oman). This swift demographic change has reshaped the overall urban fabric of the city.
At spatial level, although Muscat represents merely 1.3 per cent of total Oman’s total area, the suitable areas for development has been nearly exploited. The horizontal development based on villa has largely influenced the rapid consumption of land. The physical terrains in Muscat such as mountains, creeks and valleys also limit the proper land for urban development.
Urban growth in Muscat has passed through a long history of political and socio-economic variables. Obviously, these variables have largely affected the entire urban pattern at every period of time. Unfortunately, the poor urban management that has emerged since the early seventies created imbalanced attitudes between the availability of natural resources and the rate of consumption. Urban governance that is based on centralization of decisions has broaden the urban issues. Land distribution system has largely contributed of rapid consumption of land. For instance, though its limited areas and large population, Muscat’s residential plot size is equivalent to other areas throughout Oman. The land granting system that is based on the random lottery has largely contributed of emerging low-density, scattered territory in Muscat and many areas in Oman. Land for investment that could enhance the economy and provides jobs have become scarce. In addition, huge areas has been consumed for automobiles-based purposes.
Obviously, the high increase of population in Muscat that has quadrupled several times during the past four decades, has largely contributed on the depletion of the available natural resources. As Muscat occupies most of governmental and companies headquarters, it received the highest amount of internal migration and job seekers. Meanwhile, as Muscat contains the major governmental and investments, it received the highest amount of expatriate population. The horizontal low-density areas have been developed to house the increasing influx of those immigrants. Due to the increase of traffic, in absences of viable transport system, huge areas in Muscat have been asphalted for car utilities.
Hence, this paper intends to visualize the transformation of socioeconomic conditions and their impacts to the current urban pattern. It attempts to focus on the negative aspects that might be confronted if the current urban management remains while we are moving towards the post-oil age. Meanwhile, it provides an indication to the urban governors and decision makers to the need of an urgent intervention towards a resource saving, and socially and economically balanced utilization of limited resources.
Keywords: Sprawl, Sustainability, livability, resilient, compact cities
Selected bibliography:
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