Urbanization in the MENA region: A Benefit or a Curse?

Karim Elgendy and Natasha Abaza

Cities of the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region share many characteristics that are not limited to their shared heritage, traditional urban form, or socioeconomic conditions. We argue that the cities of the MENA region share another characteristic; limited success in reaping the benefits of urbanization which has been taking place for over a decade, ultimately leading to unique growth in carbon emissions across multiple metrics

[…]

When Did Your Country Start Getting Warmer?

Karim Elgendy

Since the start of the industrial age at the end of the 19th century, global surface temperatures have been on the rise due to increased carbon emissions. It is estimated that the earth’s surface temperature has already increased by an average of 0.9° C since then with obvious impacts on the global climate patterns.

The pattern of such warming has varied between different regions. Even within certain regions, sub-regional variations can be detected. In the Middle East and North Africa region, for example, there are sub-regional variations in how countries have warmed between 1880 and 2019, […]

Sea Level Rise in the Gulf

Karim Elgendy

As the last ice age ended, the earth’s climate began to warm up, glaciers and ice sheets started to melt, and sea levels rose globally. With sea levels rising, seawater (once again) flooded into the Gulf (also known as the Persian Gulf or Arabia Gulf), whose sea floor was exposed for millennia and covered in sand dunes (except for lakes and the Tigris-Euphrates river meandering across it towards the Arabian sea).

[…]

Cities, Biocapacity, and Trade: The Case of Ma’rib

Karim Elgendy

Human settlements have traditionally needed an environmental rationale to exist where they do. They needed access to freshwater and to ecosystems that have enough biocapacity to produce biological materials to sustain their residents. Settlements also required a climate that was moderate enough – or can be economically moderated – to support human habitation.

But for these settlements to become thriving cities, the prerequisites above were not enough. Successful cities depended to a large extent on their integration into an efficient trade network.

One historic regional example of this is the rise and fall of the city of Ma’rib, […]

Cities of the West Bank

Karim Elgendy

Most cities have a good reason for being located where they are. The major Palestinian cities of the WestBank are excellent regional examples of rational city location. The old cities of Jerusalem, Hebron, Bethlehem, Ramallah, Jenin, and Nablus are all located on the flat ridges of the West Bank mountain range, benefiting from mild climate and significant rainfall – unlike locations only 15 miles to the east such as the oasis city of Jericho.

[…]

Climate Change in the Middle East and North Africa : Carbon Intensity

Karim Elgendy

Following the UNFCCC’s 23rd Conference of Parties in Bonn (COP23), Carboun has released a visual guide to climate change in the Middle East and North Africa region. The visual guide comprises two infographics covering carbon emissions in the Middle East and North Africa and climate change impact. The aim of this infographic is to explain carbon emissions from the Middle East and North Africa and the Arab World regions in the global context, especially the relationship between total emissions, per capita emissions, and emissions per unit of GDP. This infographic is the second of two representing the […]

Policies to Buildings: The UAE’s Emergence as the GCC’s Sustainability Leader

Karim Elgendy

Settling along the shores of the gulf

In the barren deserts of the Arabian Peninsula, people have always settled in locations that provided freshwater and enough natural resources to enable trade and economic development. Human settlements in the southern shores of the Gulf, in what we now know as the United Arab Emirates (UAE), are no exceptions to this.

For the last four centuries, the Bedouins of the Banu Yas tribes have settled a strip of land along the northern edge of the dune fields of the Arabian Peninsula’s Empty Quarter. Drawn to its plentiful ground water […]