URBAN DEVELOPMENT IN OMAN: AN OVERVIEW
Free (open access)
143 - 156
During the past two decades, the Gulf countries have experienced the most rapid urban growth in the world. The traditional societies in this region have been guilelessly opened on the market economy and western lifestyle. In spite the progress realized at many levels, these societies became victims of its consumerist style. This article aims to present an overview of the urban development in Oman since it started its ‘modernization’. This study is not only interested in how the country has been developing since its “renaissance” in the 1970s, but also how does this development appear, compared to its traits in the neighboring Gulf countries. Based on the assumption that urban research is a tool of analysis that can enlighten future decisions and actions in the domain of urban development, this study is also a critical review of the published research about the urbanization in Oman since the 1970s. This research showed that, although it shares several aspects with what the other Gulf cities have witnessed, urbanization in Oman was slower, less drastic and relatively more controlled. The scrutiny of the published research on this topic also revealed that the urban studies about Oman, and the GCC countries in general, were insignificant before the rise of leading cities such as Dubai, then Doha, to the international scene. It concluded that even if these urban studies have progressively broadened in their topics, disciplines and case studies, their effect on the new orientations chosen for the future developments in these countries remains negligible.
Gulf countries, instant cities, mega-projects, Muscat, Nahdha, urban growth, urban research, urbanism, urbanization