Planning Law and Urban Growth Management

DOI : 10.17577/IJERTV11IS050190

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Planning Law and Urban Growth Management

Mohammed Zaki Al Hasawi

Department of Urban and Regional Planning Faculty of Architecture and Planning

King Abdulaziz University Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Abstract This research deals with the issue of urban growth and its history in Saudi Arabia, in addition to seeing the developments of urban growth in its laws and legislations, and a look at the urban plans that the city of Jeddah passed through.

Keywords: Planning law, Urban growth, Urban boundary


    Due to the urban and demographic changes that cities are going through and the economic factors affecting them, and the renewal of uses within the city in accordance with its functions and characteristics, all of this has resulted in "urban growth" which is the outcome of what was mentioned earlier. It is necessary to focus on the urban growth of the city and try to control it in order to prevent to urban dispersion and undetermined population explosion, which would result on losing control of the citys administration. The researchs main aim and objectives that can be measured and researched after reviewing the available scientific resources is to look into the concepts of urban growth and its various factors to reach a model that can be applied to study cases and measured and compared in different local and international cities. The objectives are to look into the current laws and regulations of the urban growth boundary regulations and find out whether they suitable for the current situation or not? And did these laws and standards help to control urban growth or was it a reason for its poor organization? Also, to know what are the opportunities and constraints that are faced by the laws of urban growth in the past years and did not make them perform their job best as a result?


    1. Definition of Urban Growth

      At the beginning, it is important to give an overview of urban growth, where many terms and definitions have emerged for it. The urban growth boundaries (UGB) are the officially approved and planned line that separates urban areas from the surrounding green belt and open lands. The urban area is included in these boundaries so that development is concentrated in areas where basic and public services are available (Heidi, 1999). Another definition has emerged it is urban boundary it is a policy for leading and monitoring the urban development by sitting appropriate limits to compromise the urban activities and absorb the urban growth during a specific time period, and providing public services and facilities to achieve the highest level of economic efficiency of the available resources to reach the optimum size for cities and villages according to the strategic urban national instructions (MOMRA, 2013).

      From the review of sources, I concluded as a reader and researcher a definition of urban growth that concludes that urban growth is the management of the planning process of the urban

      environment in an area, and the design of policies and plans that ensure that urban boundaries do not get badly dispersed, causing waste of resources and resources. Urban growth management also contributes to balancing population density with land use within the boundaries of the urban area.

    2. The Characteristics of Urban Growth

    The urban growth science occurrence dates back to the 15th century in London, England, when the Queen of England asked the London area to create a buffer zone or green belt around the city to counter the threat of plague at the time and to preserve productive farmland near the city center. Today, because of this decision, London boasts 900 square miles of green belt. In 1958, when Lexington developed a strategy to control the city's urban development. As a result of this decision, in 1990 the city gained more than $130 million from agricultural products (Heidi, 1999). There must be some drawbacks that accompany the process of urban growth that refers to the inflation of housing prices, as happened in the American city of Portland in 1985, where the housing cost rate rose to 2.85%, making population density increase in some areas of the city and not in others. In an unregulated manner; it is also noted that the neighboring rural population migrates to areas within the boundary of urban growth and their departure from the surrounding rural areas and suburbs that play a prominent role in the integration of major cities (Al-Hathloul, 2003).


    1. History of Urban Growth in Saudi Arabia

      Urban planning in Saudi Arabia has gone through many successive stages that have led it to what now has reached its laws, regulations, urban legislation and standards that serve the planning element in the Kingdom so that they were established as general laws by the central administration on which all sub- entities follow after that. Since 1969 AD, Urban planning began to appear on the horizon where the stage of the establishment of the urban boundary of cities began so that each city's boundaries and scope allow the city within it to create development processes in proportion to its functions and possibilities. After that, the transition was made to the stage of preparing the structural plans for cities, which is a long and comprehensive view of the future of cities, allowing everyone to know what the city will reach in the future. The national urban strategy emerged, which was considered as a road map for spatial development and targeted to it and achieved integration between large and small cities to reach a distinct urban environment. After that, the urban strategy of the areas was prepared that explains the tasks and functions of each city according to its capabilities and be a framework for all cities to follow as planned to ensure the success of the strategy as required. In 1984 AD, a royal decree was issued by the Saudi Cabinet of The Council of

      Ministers, which was issued by the Council of Ministers for the following years until 2004 AD, explaining the decisions of the Department of Urban Growth explicitly in Saudi Arabia, which were causing some of the details that emerged during that period, including the growing demand for the expansion of public services and facilities outside the existing area, making it a cost- effective budget (Al-Hathloul, 2003). The Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs (MOMRA) in Saudi Arabia has updated the urban area of cities until 2028 AD, after the end of the first period of determining the urban area in 2004 AD.

    2. The Updateed Regulations on Urban Boundary Rules until 2028 AD

      In 2013 AD, the updated regulations on urban boundary rules emerged until 2028 AD, which were adopted by the Council of Ministers and the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs in the Kingdom. These regulations will be directly responsible for the legislation and planning controls that ensure the advancement of the process of urban development and the preservation of the urban environment and reduce the increase of urban problems facing cities, and these regulations will be the main guide for the implementation of urban planning projects on all cities, governorates and villages in Saudi Arabia.

      The executive regulations started at the beginning by presenting and explaining the concepts and terms that will be mentioned in the following parts of the list, in order to facilitate understanding and access to all segments of society, whether residents or specialists in planning, and 31 definitions of the terms in the executive regulations have been elaborated. was moved to the most important pat of the list is the second part that talks about the controls of the stages of urban development in the Kingdom and has been divided into two basic elements where the first was the classification of cities and villages in Saudi Arabia according to the national urban strategy adopted by the Council of Ministers where the division of cities and villages into three sections are the centers of national growth that includes the main cities in the Kingdom such as Riyadh, Jeddah and Makkah and then regional growth centers that contain Secondary cities such as Yanbu, Kharj and Qatif, and then local growth centers such as Rabigh and Aoumlj. In the second of the controls of the stages of urban development was the detailed part that explains all the rules of the urban area and its important details.

      The executive regulations may allow the fragmentation of land within the stages of urban development in accordance with certain conditions that ensure that the process of urban development proceeds properly. The controls of the urban development phase were divided into three periods of time, the first period extended until 2018 AD, which allows the planning of land after the preparation of plans for the land divisions for the entire scheme and then adopted according to some controls that focus on the processing of the infrastructure of the site only of water, electricity, drainage and drainage of floods, which is standardized on all categories of classification of national, regional and local growth centers with a small disparity in some controls according to the importance of each Classification.

      The second period was from 2018-2024 AD, which differed from the controls of the first period only by increasing the

      importance of linking the site to the nearest main road for all buildings, with the establishment of a percentage of residential buildings not less than 50% for some national growth centers and 20% of the regional growth centers, while the local growth centers were not obliged to any percentage for the construction of residential buildings.

      The third and last period was from 2024-2028 AD, so it was similar to the previous time periods in its controls, and only the percentage of residential building construction within the plans differed, as it rose in the national growth centers to 75% and the regional growth centers to 25%, while the local growth centers were completed Suffice to what was mentioned in the same previous time periods.

    3. Examples of Urban Growth in Jeddah

    After the illustration and explanation of the executive regulations of the urban boundary in Saudi Arabia I would like to show some examples and study cases of some Saudi cities and how they dealt with urban growth and whether they were able to control them. One of the most notable examples is the city of Jeddah, is the second largest city in Saudi Arabia in terms of area, with an area of (1,600) km 2 and an estimated population of 4,336,145 people (Jeddah, 2015).

    Jeddah is one of the most ancient cities in Saudi Arabia, dating back to 1927 AD, when it was established and the beginning of its formation. During these years, there have been many population changes and increased urban growth, which has been the result of economic impacts worldwide. It seems that the real emergence of the urban aspect of Jeddah in 1947 AD, when Jeddah abandoned its walls, which once passed the boundaries of its urban boundary and began to bring about the expected urban change.

    It is worth mentioning that Jeddah was affected at the population level after The Second World War, where its population increased to double (from 25,000 to 50,000 people) during the period from 1947 to 1956 AD, because Jeddah was one of the first Saudi cities to benefit from the economic boom at that time. One of the advantages of this economic boom is that the Saudi government came to urban planning at the urban level in preparation for its development after the start of the preparation of the five-year plans for the Kingdom.

    The first urban plans that emerged was the plan of Abdul Rahman Makhlouf in 1963, when the first features of the growth and urban boundary of Jeddah were begun and recommended the concentration of urban growth north of Jeddah ignoring other areas. After that, coinciding with formal urban planning system emergence's 1969 AD as I mentioned (point of data collection) the second planned urban growth in Jeddah appeared in 1973 AD, in which the area of Jeddah expanded by 14% more than it was with the relative expansion towards the east and southeast of the city.

    However, due to the wide and influential economic changes during this period, the prepared scheme was not kept up to date with the sudden changes, so Chancellor Sir Jackson was called upon to review the previous scheme, which could not bear the pressure. Jackson's goal was to create an urban law that would take care of urban growth until 1989 AD and propose the creation of a residential neighborhoods for 100,000 people. In 1986, the plan of Abdul Rahman Al-Samet appeared to maintain the northern growth of the city and the emergence of new growth

    areas in the north and east directions, and he is the first to try to direct urban growth to the east until the emergence of the environmental plan in 2005 AD similar to them in the idea of maintaining the direction of growth towards the north, east and south with the inclusion of urban areas in the north of Jeddah to its scope such as Dhahaban and Thoul.

    Fig. 1. (PLANS OF JEDDAH)


    Areas & Population of Jeddah Plans





    Makhlof plan

    700 km2


    Mathew plan

    800 km2



    – 20%

    Sir Jackson plan






    AlSumait plan





    AlBeeah plan






    Finally appeared the plan of AECOM in 2015, which organized the process of the urban boundary of Jeddah city clearly defined the current urban block in addition to the administrative city limits with the demonstration of the urban area allocated to it, which confirmed the process of annexing some urban areas adjacent to Jeddah such as Dhaban, Thoul, Shuaiba and others, as well as the arrival of the urban area to the borders of The King's Economic City, which makes an impression on the size of the city expanded in the future and its arrival in large and remote areas.

    Fig. 1. (AECOM PLAN OF JEDDAH 2015)

    over time periods in an orderly manner. Studies were carried out on a strategic plan that regulates the process of urban growth and boundary based on economic data and assumptions that clarify prospects without looking at the census data at the time that were not properly clear. In contrast, the official procedures that have been going on for a long time have proved important in establishing organizational boundaries for the urban area in light of the population explosion of the city, which has been greatly affected by all the variables around it. Given the plans of Jeddah city and what it has gone through before gives the impression of full compliance with the boundaries of the urban boundary followed despite the delay of the central government in its implementation. The process of determining the boundary of urban growth has also helped to focus on the areas of the population and the possibility of better service instead of focusing on the communities and scattered communities in the city, this enhances the possibility of success of future development plans. I wish to see this regulation take care of all the land uses in the city and organize its development and the sites allocated to it without disrupting the overall structure of the uses and making them consistent with each other in order to achieve their desired goal.


After delving into the literature of this interesting and useful research and identifying the new concepts in urban growth and the limits of the urban boundary came up with a number of results, is that the concepts of the limits of urban growth are wide and many and countless as they differ from source to another and it includes many different sciences and modern trends in advanced science and study situations differ in terms of the way they deal with urban growth from one region to another according to the plans and processes followed.

That the history of urban planning in Saudi Arabia is not new or recent, but it has existed for many years and especially in Jeddah, urban growth was very important in the beginning, so the officials carried out many actions and plans that contribute to the success of the boundary of urban growth and study in the future. The implementing regulations for urban boundary rules in 2028 AD directly focused on the residential schemes and the ways of dividing them. Wish it would include all other uses so that there is a so-called urban boundary strategy to be the executive regulations for it to include all details of the urban area on all residential and sub-use. It is good to pay attention to the urban indicators that are concerned with the population and urbanization in addition to monitoring the urban growth continuously, which helps to control it and adjust it in the best way taking into account its constant link to economic indicators, especially their complete association with each other.

The government's attempts in the past to establish an end to the urban boundary of Jeddah since 1984 AD were noted not only in order to establish borders for the city of Jeddah, but also to know the directions of development and how to distribute them


[1] A. Heidi, "Use and implementation of urban growth boundaries," center for regional and neighborhood action, chicago, 1999.

[2] MOMRA, "The updated executive regulations for the urban scope to 1450," Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs, riyadh, 1435.

[3] Al-Hathloul, "Urban growth management-the Saudi experience," Habitat International, p. 612, 1 October 2003.

[4] m. jeddah, "Urban Observatory," Jeddah municipality, jeddah, 2015.

[5] AECOM, "Jeddah plans – Strategic Plan," Jedah municipality, Jeddah, 2015.

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