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Title: Promoting sustainable urban development in Palestinian cities : a framework for sustainable physical development
Authors: Shaheen, Lubna
Keywords: Cities and towns - Growth - Palestine;City planning - Palestine;Sustainable urban development - Palestine;Urbanization - Palestine
Issue Date: 2009
Abstract: The Palestinian occupied territory encounters considerable challenges characterized by high population growth rates, scarcity of land, and rapid urbanization. Due to the political instability in the country and the absence of an effective Palestinian planning institution, urban development and expansion in the Palestinian cities did not follow perceptive planning schemes, which led to a number of conflicts in the structure of cities and adversely affected land use, provision of urban services, and the quality of the living environment. This research explores the options for future urban development of the Palestinian cities following the concept of sustainable urban growth. It promotes visions and prospects aimed at fulfilling the needs of the people while conserving the scarce land and limited natural resources. The notion of a more sustainable urban development in the Palestinian Territories is promoted through adopting new physical development patterns. Conceptually, this study aims at exploring the challenges and potentials needed for defining sustainable development in the Palestinian context. Accordingly, several key aspects which steer the physical development in cities towards the path of sustainability were investigated together with the conditions and requirements needed to change the common perception of the built environment and promote a more sustainable urban development. Through introducing a new visionary way of thinking about the Palestinian urban environment, this research seeks to elaborate new concepts that help to conserve the land in order to promote a better living environment for the present and future generations. Both theoretical and empirical analysis were combined to guide the methodological approach for tackling the research problem. The case of Ramallah was analysed highlighting the context, problems, driving forces, potentials and challenges facing Palestinian cities in general, and Ramallah City in particular. A scenario approach was used to describe a sustainable future and outline the means by which change can take place to achieve the challenging targets. The outcome of this dissertation is portrayed in the form of conceptual proposals suggesting compactness, mixed land use, efficient public transportation, and enhanced green structure as guidelines for sustainable physical development in Palestinian cities. Moreover, this study recommends general strategies, including the restructuring of the Palestinian planning institutions, developing a national sustainable development strategy, modifying planning policies, and adapting an integrated planning approach, as a basis for promoting and implementing a more sustainable urban development in Palestine.
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