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Gulf Cooperation Council
Network for Drylands Research & Development

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مجلس التعاون الخليجي لدراسات

الأراضي القاحلة و التطوير


Dangers of building Mega-Cities???

Environmental and/or Social? :- (((


Research on human-dominated ecosystems (urban centers) is crucial for understanding the human impact on ecosystem and climatic processes. With half the global population now living in cities and the urban infrastructure of the world expected to double over the next 35 years, urban environments are playing an increasingly important role in daily quality-of life issues, ecological processes, climate, flows of materials, and land transformations.


Urbanization as the dominant demographic trend in the GCC region has been intensified over the last decade. Despite a number of positive impacts on the human and economic development, urbanization causes various problems; e.g. inter alia a housing shortage, lack of infrastructure, congested traffic and especially environmental degradation, thus poses serious threat to sustainable development. For instance the major cause for the loss of productive land in the Western Asia region (ECSWA) is urban expansion, including the establishment of industrial and tourist facilities and the construction of road networks and airports. Urban centers are expanding rapidly owing to continued migration from rural areas and a high rate of population growth, also influenced by foreign labor. Human settlements which not long ago covered only small tracts in the Arab world are now occupying large areas. Yet continued encroachment into agricultural lands due to rapid changes in the demographic structure will further reduce productive agricultural areas and will create added pressure to exploit marginal lands, which will lead to accelerated desertification.


Research published by the International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) warns that it will be much harder to 'adapt' urban areas to protect them from new and increasing risks from climate change than is currently thought.





Special Links:


Interesting links and additional information in Arabic and English regarding urbanization can be found with the Arab Town Panning Organization.

The Arab Urban Development Institute (AUDI) founded in 1980 with permanent headquarters in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a regional, non-governmental, non-profit urban research, technical and consulting organization.


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The International Institute for Environment and Development (IIED) is an independent non-profit research institute working in the field of sustainable development since its foundation in 1972. It publishes a wide range of discussion and working papers and many books in association with Earthscan Publications, which can be mostly accessed free of charge. Among these publications is also the journal Environment and Urbanization, which is published by IIED's Human Settlements Programme and offers a mutitude of interesting information on urbanization in respect to environmental degradation.


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