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Urban sprawl in arid environments: contrasting master plans and land use changes in Al Ain City, United Arab Emirates

Authors: Ahmad Massasati*, University of Pittsburgh at Johnstown, Adnan Sharaf, Urban Planning Department, City of Al Ain, Pere Serra Ruiz, Departament de Geografia Universitat Autònoma de Barcelona
Topics: Urban and Regional Planning, Geographic Information Science and Systems, Urban Geography
Keywords: Urban Planning, Arid cities, Land-Use Land-Cover change,GIS
Session Type: Paper
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


Land‐use policy and environment concerns regarding collective decision‐making is vital for a
Society to verify socioeconomic activities place or support within planning process. Although urban sprawl is a process equally shared by developed and developing countries, causes and characteristics may differ considerably between the two.
Due to the geostrategic situation of the Arabia Gulf Countries, and being at the center of oil production, cities in the Arabian Peninsula have rapidly gained significance in the global economy.
The subject of this study focuses on Al Ain city. Located in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) a desert city at the border of Oman, is characterized by its vast, arid desert, Rugged mountainous (Jabal Hafeet), and fertile soil. The area also contains the largest oasis in the region.
Since the 1990s, with the initiation of the Land‐Use and Land‐Cover (LULC) change
project of the International Geosphere‐Biosphere Program (IGBP) and the International
Human Dimensions Program (IHDP), considerable advances in the field of modeling of
LULC change have occurred. Monitoring LULC changes in Al Ain city is critical to the development of effective strategies for spatial management and environmental protection.
Using GIS technology, this study analyzed plans from 1984 to 2014 and forecasted plans for 2030.
The information and analysis will provide an excellent tool for further studies on Al Ain city and similar urban environments.

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