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Urban Oman Exhibition Panel 5 - Land use change Al Khoud

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Abstract

Case-study Al Khoudh Al Khoud (phase 6) covers an area for about 2000 new residential and commercial plots. The area started to be developed in 2007 and thus allows a continuous observation of ongoing processes of urban growth and expansion, characteristic to Muscat Capital Area. Map of Greater Muscat Area The site was planned in the early 2000s by the Ministry of Housing in Muscat and is phase 6 within the Al Khoud residential development scheme. The site plan has a rigid layout of similar plots and a regulating street network. Construction started in 2007 and is still ongoing with a completion of 40% of roads completed and 27% of plots built in April 2012. In November 2010 when the first field study took place development in the area had become more dynamic and plots along the finished roads were being developed rapidly. Within only one year, at the end of 2011, building activities are to be observed in the inner zones, along secondary roads or even along not yet paved roads. Road construction work was pushed in 2010. To date (April 2013) the roads had not been developed completely and many houses could only be reached by improvised dirt track. Electricity is available on site, despite the fact that many connections are make-shift wires tapped from the main lines. Infrastructure in the sense of water and sewage connection is non-existent. The master-plan is homogeneous, dis-ambiguous and relatively easy to track in time and space. The rapid pace of development make it an interesting “live” object of research enabling to study not just he “result” but also the process. The actual form of Urbanization can be tested against the goals set in the master-plan. If the aim of the development is the critique can be developed out of the case-study itself. The development process can be traced in time thanks to satellite images. The earliest available satellite imagery goes back to January 2004. At the time of writing four distinct snapshots in time were available: March 2008, February 2011, March 2012 and April 2013. The first building activity is recorded on the satellite image of March 2008. As we can see on the chronologic map of Al Khoud of March 2008 1,1% of the plots were built while 40,5% of the roads were already built. This indicates that very few residential construction started before a minimum of roads were there. About one third of these houses were actually on one of the roads built. The others needed to travel the last 50 meters across improvised dirt tracks. The next available snapshot can be seen in the chronologic map of Al Khoud of February 2011. Here building activity slowly progresses with 5,2% of the plots built. Houses are randomly scattered around the site and only half of them are fully accessible by road. The road construction has not progressed and is still at 40,5% built roads. This is to remain for the next snapshot as seen in the chronologic map of Al Khoud dated March 2012. Here building activity has significantly increased with 26,7% of the plots built up. The most recent snapshot as seen in the chronologic map of Al Khoud dated April 2013 shows and increase in both developed plots and a second phase of road construction.
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