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The nature of urbanization in the gulf countries

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This paper analyses the urban process in the oil producing countries of the Gulf. The mode of urbanization is identified as one characterized by an extreme case of primacy but with rates varying among the countries of the region. This pattern is related to the historical evolution of human settlements as affected by the local environmental qualities and the recent large scale development of urban infrastructures which favoured the already existing capital cities. The relative city growth rates are among the highest in the world but with a declining tendency which reflects expenditure patterns and the nature of the regional economies. The high growth rates are essentially due to massive foreign migration into the region and to extremely high natural increase rate — an abnormal condition in an urban process approaching saturation point. The role of these primate centres in the development of the region is undeniable and, furthermore, all indications suggest that this pattern of urban development will continue in the furture as it is, perhaps economically and politically less costly.

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El-Arifi, S.A. The nature of urbanization in the gulf countries. GeoJournal 13, 223–235 (1986).

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  • Urban Development
  • Expenditure Pattern
  • Regional Economy
  • Human Settlement
  • Saturation Point