Objective A:

Providing empirical data and information on crucial issues of urbanization in Oman: Describing and analyzing land use and urbanization patterns in selected case study areas of urban expansion and rural transition.

Literature on the proposed topic related to Oman is very limited and statistics available are mainly estimations as the latest census dates back to 1993. Relevant data collection on an empirical base will play a crucial role for the project.

Therefore two complementary case studies will be carried out that allow detailed insights and reveal specific characteristics of the two in-parallel processes of urban expansion and transition on the local level.

The case studies will provide a comprehensive and detailed survey on social, economic, and environmental implications of land use and settlement patterns.

Objective B:

Contributing to the current scientific national and international discourse on urbanization: Understanding processes and mechanisms of urbanization in Oman.

The specific development in Oman asks for a comprehensive view on urbanization trends that occur at the same time in more urbanized and in currently urbanizing areas. There seems to be a strong interface between the rural transition process and the urban expansion process. The two proposed case studies cover this dual approach and focus one on the urban expansion and one on the rural transition component of the overall process.

The research aims at identifying driving forces for the specific urbanization patterns in Oman.

Mechanisms are interactive factors deriving from social and cultural contexts, from economic conditions and from environmental settings. They are influenced by overall national development policies, by rural-urban inter-relations and by local conditions. They include as well actors and their interest on different levels (state, civil society, private sector)

A clear focus will be upon land-related issues (i.e. land use rights and land use practice, land tenure types, land values/land market) as land and land management is regarded as crucial to future development of the country.

Objective C:

Developing application-oriented instruments to guide and control sustainable development in Oman:

Locally adapted strategies, programs, and implementation frameworks to manage future balanced development in the country

This includes i.e.:

– Scenarios of sustainable development are presented and discussed
– Indicators for sustainable land use and settlement patterns are developed
– Strategies and action plans for selected areas are prepared
– Recommendations are formulated (i.e. reform of physical planning standards)
– Concepts for sustainable land management are presented
– Action Plans for further intervention are developed

The proposed research aims at addressing aggravating problems in the country that arise through urban growth and uncontrolled consumption of limited resources, in particular land.