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Spatial Dimensions of Urban Community Term Paper


Cities have been acknowledged as major drivers of economic prosperity and development in every country around the world. The United Arab Emirates, is host to Dubai which has grown to be one of the most popular cities in the world. Notably, the UAE has numerous cities that are strategically positioned across the country (Alawadi & Benkraouda 2017 p. 19). The development of cities in the country has been contributed by the fact that the nation’s economy is one of the leading in the globe resulting from exportation of fossil fuel. Across the country, there are 21 cities which support millions of people not only from the UAE, but also from across the world (Burt 2014 p. 670). Although urbanization has brought its own challenges to the UAE, it continued advancement in different countries been received credit for poverty reduction, increase in global economic output, and improvement of social wellbeing. Notably, the benefits of urbanization are realized when governing bodies execute proper planning. Poor planning leads to a number of challenges in urban areas where the most notable are pollution, congestion, segregation, inadequate housing, lack of reliable water supply, and inadequate social amenities (Charfeddine & Khediri 2016 p. 1330). The cities of Dubai, Sharjah, and Ajman are a perfect example of urban areas which have been disparately structures to support one another by solving issues that arise from urbanization. As such the UAE Authorities have been working tirelessly to ensure that planning is properly done as this will guarantee urban residents in this metropolitan area conducive environment (Shahbaz 2014 p. 630). Besides in the UAE, spatial dimension of urban communities significantly influences policies and strategies adopted in urban housing development to tackle the challenge of land use in urban centers, especially with the recent increasing population in urban centers.

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The role of urban spatial dimension in urban planning directly influences cities and the nature of housing facilities through policy and strategy. To gain a deeper understanding of this concept, a case study of Sharjah, Ajman, and Dubai will be adopted where various policies and strategies adopted by the city will be explored. Precisely, Sharjah, Ajman, and Dubai are among the fastest growing cities in the United Arab Emirates which have been acknowledged for their advanced planning and ensuring that city dwellers have enough living space among other important facilities that are crucial in leading a quality life (Shihab 2001 p. 251). Like in other parts of the world, the population in the United Arab Emirates cities has been growing at a steady rate, especially after the country was established in approximately four decades ago. Therefore, the growing urban population and urban community have forced cities to design policies and strategies which have created more room for continued growth.

Sharjah, Dubai, and Ajman form the metropolitan city areas of United Arab Emirates as they are adjacent cities in the country. Precisely, parts of the urban areas in the North East of Dubai overflows into Sharjah making the cities become connected. Further, some parts of Sharjah and Ajman are also connected creating the link between the three cities. However, it is impossible to combine them into one urban center but they are in different political jurisdictions which means the three cities are governed by different authorities. Due to the link between these urban centers is that due to this overflow, they have some similarities that contribute to their growth. For instance, the all share same urban communities which means the contribution the urban community is having on one city is definitely going to flow in the rest of the neighboring cities. Notably, the spatial dimension of urban communities in the three cities has greatly contributed in the urban housing development.

Research Problem
The three cities have close connection with each other as they share the same urban communities and there are also neighboring each other. Notably, most of the development designs and plans are interlinked in the three cities as the governing authorities try to ensure that neither of them is left behind in terms of development. Existing studies have indicated that most neighboring cities usually rely on integrated development plan to ensure uniform growth in the region. Besides, United Arab Emirates strives to be the leader in terms of development which means the federal government has to ensure the there is uniform growth in the cities regardless of their difference in political jurisdiction. Integrated plan is a new concept that has become popular due to the complicated nature of the cities. Most cities share boundaries and communities and the work of integrated development is to ensure that these cities that share the boundaries grow at almost similar pace. Integrated development has been appreciated as one of the most innovative city development plans which takes into account spatial dimension and logical characteristics of the city.

The world’s population has been increasing at a rapid rate such that some of the cities around the world have problems with availability of space to accommodate all residents. Accordingly, the growing population has over stretched many city housing facilities. The situation has led to emergence of issues like increased unemployment, job security, congestion, insecurity, and pollution. However, as most cities struggle with this challenge, Sharjah, Ajman and Dubai have been prospering and the urban population or community have been acknowledged as among the main contributors of this growth and development (Fields 2015 p. 150). Currently, Dubai and other cities in the United Arab Emirates are known for their sky scrapers which enable the cities to accommodate the growing population. In this regard, this study will use the case of Sharjah, Ajman and Dubai to investigate how spatial dimension of urban communities’ influences policies and strategies in urban development and their impact on housing development and planned growth.

Research Questions
a) What are the major housing problems that have been experienced in Sharjah, Ajman, and Dubai in the past?
b) How have the three cities managed to solve these problems through policies and procedures?
c) What role has the spatial urban dimension of urban community in these cities played in influencing the way these policies and strategies are formulated?
d) Have the situations in both Sharjah, Ajman, and Dubai housing development changed due to these policies?

Research Objectives
a) Discuss various issues that affect urban developments in general.
b) Discuss how spatial dimension of urban communities and how they have influenced urban housing development.
c) Analyze the case of Dubai, Ajman, and Sharjah and how spatial dimension of urban communities in the three cities has influenced its housing development policies and strategies.
d) Provide recommendations based on the findings to help in resolving urban planning challenges especially in the development of the housing sector.

Pros and Cons
Since the three cities support one another, there are pros and cons that are related with this co-dependency. To begin with, the first pro is that the three cities are able to efficiently support the 5 million residents without stretching the natural and infrastructural resources. Secondly, the metropolitan is important because it reduces congestion of the urban areas because people are spread evenly across Sharjah, Ajman, and Dubai. Thirdly, in such a setting, each city is able to specialize on a specific area such as tourism and manufacturing in Dubai, religion in Ajman, and residence in Ajman (Alawadi & Benkraouda 2017 p. 20). Similarly, this setting has its disadvantages. For instance, such a close proximity of the three cities hinders the development of these cities since they depend on one another. To illustrate, since Dubai is more developed, most investors will tend to prefer it over the others. Also, such a setting prevents the development of other urban areas located across the country because its economy attracts more people and business at the expense of other areas. This is true in the UAE context because Sharjah, Ajman, and Dubai have gained international recognition while other cities are barely recognized.

Literature Review
Growth of Urban Population
The high rate of population growth is an issue that has raised concerns among city planners and other concerned stakeholders like the United Nations. Accordingly, a vast majority of the world population is living in cities and the continued growth is expected to increase with time (“United Nations”, 2018). In a report by the United Nations, as of 2018, the urban population accounted for 55% of the total world’s population which means this population has surpassed the one that is living in the rural areas (“United Nations”, 2018). Remarkably, this trend indicates that urban population has been steadily increasing in the last few years with statistics indicating that the growth is expected to reach 61% by there year 2030 and 68% by the year 2050 (“United Nations”, 2018). In a study published by World Health Organization (WHO), urban population growth will continue at an expected rate of 1.84% per year between 2015 and 2020, and then the rate will decrease to 1.64% per year between 2020 and 2025 and 1.44% between 2025 and 2030 (“World Health Organization”, 2019). There are several factors that have led to this urban population increase which include high rate of rural urban migration as well as improved living condition which has reduced infant mortality rate and improved the quality of life in the urban centers.

Apart from that, there are a number of problems that are directly with rapid population growth. The most notable challenge is housing which is known to attract other problems such as congestion and increased cost of living. Usually, when people move to urban centers, there is a shortage of housing and they have to scramble for the available living space. This makes the cost of housing to increase due to competition for living space among city dwellers. Secondly, overcrowding is another major concern in the city as there are large numbers of people struggling to live in limited spaces. These problems have affected the living conditions in many cities, especially in emerging economies where planning was not properly done. As the population continues to grow, people start looking for cheaper living spaces which usually leads to emergence of slums and other problems such as inadequate water supply and sanitation issues. Remarkably, the issue of water and sanitation can be independent or they can be related to lack of proper housing. Inadequate housing forces people to start erecting shacks in places designated for public amenities which in most cases affect water and sewerage systems and eventually lead to blockage. Additionally, most cities in the developed countries have managed to tackle this problem by building underground system that cannot be affected by what is built on the land. In other words, increased population has led to significant land use changes in most cities around the world to accommodate the growing number of people in the cities.

Influence of Urban Population on Housing development
As cities continue to be among the major contributors to economic and political growth in many countries around the world, city planners and state governments usually make policies and strategies aimed at improving the living conditions of the to make the living conditions as good as possible. Usually, the policies are aimed at creating, preserving, and improving the city and its neighborhoods through provision of affordable houses (Fields, 2015). Accordingly, urban communities have a significant influence on these city developments and improvement of both infrastructure and housing. Furthermore, the current infrastructure in most urban centers, especially in the United States can be credited o the movements back in 1960s and 1970s as the communities in the cities advocated for governments and urban planners in design and implement policies and strategies that will improve the infrastructure. Similarly, community influence on urban planning has continued as studies indicate that policy makers and planners are concentrating more on preserving residential areas and creating space for affordable housing. Haaland, & van den Bosch (2015) have argued that the rapid urbanization and population increase in the cities have increased the need for compact city development which has been incorporated in city planning today. Therefore, urban communities play a significant role in development of their cities through advocacy and policy formulation.

Policy formulation and planning are essential for organized city development as they lead to realization of more policies that create space for development. Besides, proper policy formulation ensures that social amenities are integrated within the housing units. The efficient spatial organization that emerges from ability to convert spatial structures into more productive modes is a major contributor to development process. Arshad, Malik, & Malik (2017) argue that in the last 50 years the surface of the earth has been altered significantly in what is termed as change in land use, due to human activities such as urbanization. According to Alawadi & Benkraouda (2017), one of the major contributors of this land use is the urban communities as planners focus on expanding residential areas to accommodate more people since human capital is seen as an important part of city economic development. In other words, city planners create strategies and designs that will ensure that the city will accommodate as large population as possible so that they can contribute in various parts of development in the city.

Research Methodology
The methodology section describes how the information will be gathered and analyzed to help in arriving at the conclusion. Quantitative data such as population, trip generation, vacancy rates, house price, services such as hospitals, airports, universities and museums will be utilized. Thus, for this study, data collection and analysis will be conducted through quantitative methods where the data collected will involve various factors that will help in understanding the population in the three cities and their connection as well as how they collectively contribute to growth in each individual city. Some of the population’s features that will be used in data collection include population density, land use changes for housing developments and house prices as well as social amenities, just to mention a few examples. This data will help in understanding any similarities and different in urban settlement. In addition, qualitative method will be used to assess the social factors in the three cities such as issues to do with difference in political jurisdictions and how they affect development integrated development. Also the qualitative method will be useful in explain how these political jurisdictions are overcome by the city development plans. The data that will be used in this study will be collected using a mixture of primary and secondary data collection methods as this will help in providing different sources of information for triangulation in data analysis.

Data Collection
The study will rely on secondary methods of data collection where statistics will be collected from the already existing literature. The literature to be sampled includes materials that discuss various theories of connection between urban communities and housing developments in urban centers. Specifically, data collection and results will involve case studies of Sharjah and Dubai and how the city has managed to continue growing in spite of various challenges that are caused by the growing urban population. The study will mainly focus on sources that discuss various changes and city planning, policies, and challenges in Sharjah and Dubai.

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Reference List
Alawadi, K., & Benkraouda, O., 2017. The debate over neighborhood density in Dubai: Between theory and practicality. Journal of Planning Education and Research, vol. 39, no. 1, pp. 18-34.
Burt, J.A., 2014. The environmental costs of coastal urbanization in the Arabian Gulf. City, 18(6), pp.760-770.
Charfeddine, L. and Khediri, K.B., 2016. Financial development and environmental quality in UAE: Cointegration with structural breaks. Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, 55, pp.1322-1335.
Fields, D., 2015. Contesting the financialization of urban space: Community organizations and the struggle to preserve affordable rental housing in New York City. Journal of Urban Affairs, vol. 37, no. 2, pp.144-165.
Haaland, C. and van den Bosch, C.K., 2015. Challenges and strategies for urban green-space planning in cities undergoing densification: A review. Urban forestry & urban greening, vol. 14, no. 4, pp. 760-771.
United Nations. 2018, May 16. 68% of the world population projected to live in urban areas by 2050, says UN. Retrieved April 04, 2019, from United Nations: https://www.un.org/development/desa/en/news/population/2018-revision-of-world-urbanization-prospects.html
Shahbaz, M., Sbia, R., Hamdi, H. and Ozturk, I., 2014. Economic growth, electricity consumption, urbanization and environmental degradation relationship in United Arab Emirates. Ecological Indicators, 45, pp.622-631.
Shihab, M., 2001. Economic development in the UAE. United Arab Emirates: a new perspective, pp.249-259.
World Health Organization. 2019. Global Health Observatory (GHO) data. Retrieved April 04, 2019, from World Health Organization: https://www.who.int/gho/urban_health/situation_trends/urban_population_growth_text/en/

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