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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Ring road development and vacant lands Riyadh, Saudi Arabia Alskait, Khalid


This dissertation is concerned with the relationship between freeway development and the pattern of urban development. In particular, this research examines whether there is any relationship between ring road development and the proliferation of vacant urban lands in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. The main hypothesis of this dissertation suggests that the development of ring roads, at a time when a substantial amount of inner lands are vacant, encourages leapfrogging growth, thus creating more vacant urban lands. Both primary data and existing data, collected by governmental agencies, were collected and analyzed. Primary data were collected using a questionnaire survey. The survey included interviews with relevant public officials, private developers, and academics. One hundred people were approached to complete the questionnaire, and seventy-six of them responded. The primary existing data source was the Arriyadh Development Authority (ADA). The ADA provided land use data for 1986-87 and 1990-91. These data included relevant urban variables (including land use variables, population variables, dwelling unit variables) for sixteen submunicipalities in Riyadh. The analyses of land use data were supplemented by an analysis of aerial images of the city which had been taken before and after the development of the ring road, sections of which were opened in 1984 and 1986. The interviews, the land use data, and the aerial images were complementary to each other in the analysis. The findings of this dissertation suggest that there is a correlation between the development of the Riyadh Ring Road and the size and distribution of current vacant urban lands. This confirms the main hypothesis. It is suggested that the timing of ring road development is critical to the increase in the amount of vacant urban lands. In order to avoid and/or to decrease such an increase in vacant lands, ring roads should be developed only after a certain percentage of the lands within the urban area have been developed. If more vacant urban lands exist at the time of the development of a ring road, then more leapfrogging growth will occur. This type of growth will result in more vacant urban lands and will stretch the city in all directions, thus reducing efficiency.

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