How Towns Can Rebuild After a Wildfire?

Wildfires are horrific natural disasters that can devastate individual households and large communities alike. By definition, wildfires, also known as wildland fires, are known to ravage combustible wildland vegetation areas. Depending on the incident, a wildfire can destroy natural forests, negatively impact soil fertility and water cycles, or even threaten the health of those residing nearby the ignition point. In terms of cause, different events can ignite wildfires, ranging from human-caused to naturally occurring. Arson, equipment malfunctions (i.e., car accidents), unattended campfires, discarded cigarettes, and burning debris are all culprits of human-caused wildfires. On the other hand, natural fires result … Continue reading

Are Green Roofs a Viable Option for the Middle East?

Urban green roofs have long been promoted as an easy and effective strategy for beautifying the built environment and increasing investment opportunity. The building roof is very important because it has a direct impact on thermal comfort and energy conservation in and around buildings. Urban green roofs can help to address the lack of green space in many urban areas. Urban green roofs provides the city with open spaces that helps reduce urban heat island effect and provides the human population on the site with a connection to the outdoors. However, we must differentiate between two types of urban green … Continue reading

The Decade of Action: Cities Humanizing SDGs

We are 10 years away from delivering the 2030 sustainable development Agenda. Yet, the pace of progress on achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) is slower than sought. In January 2020 and in an attempt to expedite progress, the UN Secretary-General António Guterres inaugurated the ‘Decade of Action’. The Decade is built on three levels of action: global action, local action, and people action. Weeks after, the COVID-19 Pandemic hit the globe and magnified pressure on achieving all SDGs across borders. While human well-being lies at the heart of the sustainable development Agenda, the global extreme poverty rate is projected … Continue reading

Future of Urban Transportation in Saudi Arabia

Transportation sector has played a prominent role in the socio-economic development of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. However, there are a wide range of current and future issues which should be tackled to ensure sustainable development in the country. More than 75% of the total population of Saudi Arabia lives in urban areas. Given the worldwide trends and statistics on urban population growth, many have regarded the 21st century as the urban century, understanding the prominence and importance urban areas have played and will continue to play in the future. Therefore, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia must focus its attention in … Continue reading

How Could Urban Planners Contribute to Social Cohesion in Cities?

While most of the implemented programmes that promote social cohesion are based on people’s ideology, perceptions, and social behaviours, the impact of the physical built environment, that hosts people’s lives and their social interactions, remains less tackled. In the context of urban planning, to what extent do our cities affect the advancement of social cohesion of communities? And could elusive and complex social concepts – like social cohesion – be tackled in a practical spatial planning approach that yields concrete actions? The fostering of social cohesion gained intensive focus in the literature of urban planning and sustainable development studies, especially … Continue reading

Earth Day 2015 – It’s Our Turn to Lead

Like Earth Days of the past, Earth Day 2015 will focus on the unique environmental challenges of our time. As the world’s population migrates to cities, and as the bleak reality of climate change becomes increasingly clear, the need to create sustainable communities is more important than ever. Earth Day 2015 will seek to do just that through its global theme: It’s Our Turn to Lead. With smart investments in sustainable technology, forward-thinking public policy, and an educated and active public, we can transform our cities and forge a sustainable future. Nothing is more powerful than the collective action of … Continue reading

World Habitat Day 2017: Affordable Homes

World Habitat Day, observed every year on the first Monday of October, is meant to reflect on the state of our urban areas and the basic human right regarding provision of adequate shelter to all human beings. World Habitat Day (WHD) also aims to remind the planners and government officials of the collective responsibility for the habitat of future generations and a day to encourage grassroots action from civil society organizations to advocate for universal decent housing. Each year, World Habitat Day takes on a new theme chosen by the United Nations based on current issues relevant to the Habitat … Continue reading

Green Spaces in Middle East – Perspectives

Often dubbed as “pockets of green in a grey landscape”, green spaces such as urban parks, vertical gardens and street trees, are increasingly being incorporated into city plans and designs for their multi-functional benefits of ecological, physical and social nature. An obvious benefit from increasing green space within cities is the increase in biodiversity. Often serving as refuges and habitat corridors for wildlife, studies have shown increases in both native and endemic flora and fauna with the expansion of green spaces in cities. Infact it has been observed that city planners choose to incorporate green spaces, such as urban parks … Continue reading

UHI Effect: Impact on Sustainability

Urban Heat Island (UHI) Effect arises due to absorption of incident radiation from the sun by built surfaces of tall buildings, roof, concrete structures and asphalt roads and then releasing it in the form of heat. The term “urban heat island” describes the built-up areas that are significantly hotter than the surrounding open, natural or rural areas. It occurs on the surface and in the atmosphere. The built surfaces are made of high-percentage of non-reflective and water-resistant construction materials. These materials act as heat sinks that absorb the radiated heat and store it for long time. The Urban Heat Island … Continue reading

Earth Day 2014 – Focus on Green Cities

Earth Day, celebrated annually on April 22, marks the birth of modern environmental movement. Earth Day has now grown into a global tradition making it the largest civic observance in the world and is one of the widely celebrated events in which over one billion people from over 190 countries participate by taking suitable actions for saving our mother Earth. The Earth Day was first organised in 1970 to promote respect for life on the planet and to encourage awareness on air, water and soil pollution. Each year a different theme or topic is selected. Earth Day 2014 Earth Day 2014 … Continue reading

Medina 2.0: Cities’ Power to Shape a Greener Future

The current rate of urbanization is one of the global megatrends, which will manifest itself in many of the challenges faced in the upcoming decades. UN reports estimate that nearly 70% of the world’s population will be urban by 2050. The way in which cities deal with this rapid rate of urbanization will determine whether international objectives such as Sustainable Development Goal 11, aimed at making cities and human settlements inclusive, safe, resilient, and sustainable, will be achieved. Urbanization has further impacts on many more of the goals defined in the UN 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development. Achieving these goals … Continue reading