Final results are compiled in 5 dossiers responding to the research objectives, focussing on the crucial issues of sustainable urban governance in Oman:

  • A comparative documentation and evaluation of urbanisation patterns in Oman
  • Reviewed physical planning standards / building regulations
  • Recommendations for sustainable land management and urban governance
  • Climate responsive urban design manual
  • Indicators for monitoring sustainable urban development in Oman

Patterns of Growth

Comparative documentation and evaluation of urbanisation patterns in Oman: Representative case studies will illustrate pattern of urbanisation and reveal characteristics on both ongoing urban growth and rural to urban transformation. Findings of the to case studies give detailed insights to mechanisms and processes of urbanisation in Oman. The comparative evaluation contributes to develop a sustainability profile.

Case Study Area A – Al Khoud stands for the phenomenon of urban expansion in Muscat Capital Area. The new Al Khoud neighborhood is located at the western fringe of Muscat Capital Area along the southern expressway. The neighborhood was developed since 2007 and offers a typical show case for urban expansion phenomena.

The criteria for selection were: New settlement on „virgin“ land. Designed by the ministry of housing. Relative size of the development: Accommodation 2000 plots of 600m2 each. Continuous urban development allows to study the process of urbanisation. Satellite imagery available from the beginning of the development in 2007 to present.

Case Study Area B – Fanja stands for the phenomenon of rural to urban transformation in Interior Oman. Fanja is located along the Muscat – Nizwa highway in Willayat Bidbid and used to be a traditional oasis settlement.

The criteria for selection were: Fanja displays the typical phases of transformation from a traditional settlement towards a more urbanised settlement type from 1970 to present day. The ongoing transformation process is fostered by the proximity to the highway and Muscat Capital Area.

Further in-depth scientific research (See Publications section):

  • von Richthofen, A. (2016). No urban desert! Emergence and transformation of extended urban landscapes in Oman. In Vanessa Miriam Carlow (Ed.), Limits – Space as Resource. Jovis.
  • von Richthofen, A. (2016). Visualizing Urban Form as Mass Ornament in Muscat Capital Area. In N. Mounajjed (Ed.), Visual Culture(s) in the Gulf: An Anthology (pp. 137–158). Cambridge: Gulf Research Centre.
  • von Richthofen, A. (2015). Desert Sprawl. Rapid urbanisation: the transformation of the desert in Oman. Topos: European Landscape Magazine, (93), 96–101.
  • von Richthofen, A., & Langer, S. (2015). Evaluating the urban development and determining “peak-space” of Muscat Capital Area. Urbanisation in the Gulf Countries, 111.
  • Al Gharibi, Hamad: „From Sprawl to Compact City, the case of Muscat“, PhD thesis TU Berlin / GUtech 2014
  • Abdel Aal, Sara: „Rural urban linkages for a sustainable Oman“, Master thesis Urban Management Studies Programme TU Berlin / GUtech 2013
  • van Esch, Effje: „Student Stories: Omani students in Muscat about their home, family and aspirations“, Master thesis International Development Studies Utrecht University, NL / GUtech 2011.

Reviewed Physical Planning Standards / Building Regulations:

Physical planning standards in Oman date back to the early 1990s and fail to consider sustainability criteria. A main research topic contributes to the update of physical planning standards and building regulations in order to cope 21st century challenges of urbanisation in Oman.

Recommendations for Sustainable Land Management and Urban Governance:

Taking into consideration the finite resources in terms of land and fossil energy the research contributes to propose urban management strategies and governance practices appropriate to guide and control future urban development in a sustainable way.

Further in-depth scientific research (See Publications section):

  • Nebel, S., Salcedo, J., Becerra, P., Achamnos, P., Carvajal, F., & Alcántara, A. (2015). Al Buraimi, A Strategic Approach towards Integrated Urban Development and Resilient Urban Management. Berlin: Technische Universität Berlin Urban Management Program.
  • Soloman, Samuel: „Residential land management sustainability in Muscat, Oman“, Master thesis Urban Management Studies Programme TU Berlin / GUtech 2013.

Climate Responsive Urban Design:

Climate responsive urban design is considered a major tool to address the local, social and climatic conditions without depleting the available resources of land, water and energy. Climate responsive design caters to a comprehensive sustainable urban design strategy. Applied to the local context, the research integrates recommendations towards climate responsive urban design in Oman.

Further in-depth scientific research (See Publications section):

  • Hernandez, Carolina : „Climate-sensitive outdoor space design in hot and arid zones – Responding to human outdoor comfort conditions in Muscat, Oman.“, Master thesis Urban Management Studies Programme TU Berlin / GUtech 2013.

Policies and Programmes:

The research is addressed to Omani governmental bodies and aims to review and improve the existing policies and programmes. The research develops a set of indicators that allows the Omani government to better monitor and guide future urban trends. The research identifies a set of key indicators for the local Omani context. These indicators correlate to strategies and targets of urban development under sustainable criteria.

Further in-depth scientific research (See Publications section):

  • Nebel, S., & von Richthofen, A. (2014). Towards Sustainable Urbanization Patterns in Oman (Final report No. CBS-ORG-09-001). Muscat: The Research Council Oman.