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Volume :3 Issue : 12 1977      Add To Cart                                                                    Download

KUWAIT BETWEEN POLARIZED GROWTH AND REGIONAL BALANCE

Auther : Dr. Abdul-llah Abu-Ayyash

 

         The discovery of oil in Kuwait has been a turning point in the life of the country.  Commercial, industrial, and service sectors started to expand at rates that have never been experienced before in the country.  The economic opportunities that were brought by the wealth attracted thousands of people from outside Kuwait.  As usual, immigrants preferred to settle down in major urban centers, i.e. mainly the City of Kuwait where plenty of jobs are available.  The new comers scattered haphazardly in different parts of the urban nucle.  For example the early waves of immigrants concentrated in the center of the old City and lived in dilapidated and unhealthy housing units.  The haphazard distribution of the immigrants came as a result of the absence of urban plans that could have helped organizing their settlement.  In fact, thousands of immigrants found themselves living in primitive housing units.  These units formed later what became known as sharty towns or what are called locally as “Asheesh”.

         The successive waves of immigrants, coupled with the natural increase of the original people of Kuwait, let to a phenomenal growth of the country’s population.  The pressure that was exerted on urban land and services by the unprecedented population increase became worse due to the absence of a comprehensive urban plan, subsequently, this situation led to many urban problems.  The concentration of people, investments, capital, and economic activities in several urban centers led to a phenomenon known in planning as “the polarized growth”.  This means that geographical gaps in terms of the distribution of investments and economic and social activities exist between the different parts of the country.  Several questions hit the minds of Kuwait officials.  How to cope with these problems?  Where to locate these thousands of people?  And how to organize the urban space in a way that could absorb the continuing waves of immigrants at present and in the future?

          The answer to these questions came in the form of three plans that were adopted by the government.  The first plan was drawn up in 1952 and aimed at organizing and developing an area extending from the center of Kuwait City to the third Circle road.  The area extending from the center of Kuwait City to the third Circle road.  The area outside the old city was meant to be residential suburbs.  However, the plan which suffered from severe shortcomings was replace by another one in 1962.  The new plan covered areas beyond the third circle road and included the whole sector extending from the old city until the sixth circle road and down south until Ahmadi.  The 1962 plan was modified slightly at a larger stage and became known as the 1967 municipality plan.

         However, the continuing growth of the population of Kuwait and the successive expansion of its urban space necessitated a comprehensive plan and a full reorganization of its urban activities.  The result was Buchan’s comprehensive studies, which suggested several urban strategies for the future urban development of Kuwait.  The purpose of this study is to discuss these plans in full details referring to the passive and positive aspects.  Also, the study brought up few suggestions concerning the comprehensive plans.  For example, it suggested a revaluation of the recreational project that aims at developing the coastal area extending from Shuwaikh to Salmiya.  Furthermore, it suggested the development of a new recreational center in the southern part of the country, and another one in the midpoint between Jahra and Al-Shagaya.  This center is suggested to become a major transportation node.  It will help integrating the country in to a highly interrelated transportation system.

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May 18, 2017

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