An Assessment of the Environmental and Social Impacts of Urban Expansion: Case of Arab Countries

34 Pages Posted: 28 Jul 2016

Date Written: July 26, 2016


Problem statement: Most Arab countries currently experience urban population growth at high rates, whereby over half the population lives in towns and cities, a trend which, in some cases, reaches more than 90%. Urbanization in the Arab world has been fuelled by high fertility rates, substantial rural-urban migration, international labor migration and the concentration of economic activity in urban areas. Moreover, urbanization mixed with the high fertility rates and the large percentage of youth in the Arab world will continue to put pressure on federal governments to address the socio-economic problems. This paper assesses the direct effects of urban expansion on environment and society in Arab World.

Approach: This paper uses information about demographic changes and hydrologic data in the Arab World for the last years. The goal is to understand the connection between urbanization, water quality pollution and biodiversity in this Region. Official reports from governments, United Nations, World Bank and Economic and Social Commission for Western Asia (UN-ESCWA) are used.

Results: Results indicate that there has been notable urban growth, lack of access to improved water sources, pollution and a loss of biodiversity as new urban developments have appeared in these areas. The population increase in a volcanically active area is particularly troubling since it poses a potential human health risk.

Conclusion/Recommendations: The review also shows a direct correlation between urbanization with the reduction of water quality, air pollution and loss in biological diversity regarding species and ecosystems.

Keywords: Key words: Population growth, urbanization, urban growth, environmental impacts, water quality, pollution, biodiversity.

JEL Classification: A12, A13, N95, O18

Suggested Citation

Hussein, Muawya, An Assessment of the Environmental and Social Impacts of Urban Expansion: Case of Arab Countries (July 26, 2016). Available at SSRN: or

Muawya Hussein (Contact Author)

Dhofar University ( email )

0096892210708 (Phone)
0096823237730 (Fax)

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