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Urban Development

Making Sand into Gold

Wael Zakout's picture
Also available in: العربية
Haider Y. Abdulla | Shutterstock.com - Property Landscape in Dubai

Those of you who have visited Dubai in recent years may relate to what I am going to say: Dubai is in the middle of the desert, and its land, not that long ago, was really worth nothing. Now it is one of the most vibrant international cities in the world. All this happened in a relatively short time span.

Connecting Palestinian cities for a more sustainable future

Rafeef Abdel Razek's picture
Also available in: العربية


Cities expand in the blink of an eye, and with such rapid growth come corresponding issues. This is immediately apparent when you drive through a Palestinian city and observe the severe traffic problems. While such gridlock may be inconvenient for a person caught in it, it can be a severely damaging for many small business owners, whose shops become inaccessible due to the traffic build-up.

Iraq: Emergency Project Rebuilding Bridges, Roads, Water, Wastewater, Municipal services and Livelihoods

Ibrahim Dajani's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية


In eastern Iraq’s Diyala governorate, a bridge connects two cities—Baquba on one bank of the river and Muqdadya on the other. Nothing remarkable about that, you might think, until you know that this bridge had been blown-up by the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) cutting off the many Iraqis who commute between the two cities in quest of work or education.

Will forcibly displaced Syrians get their land back?

Paul Prettitore's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية

 ART production / Shutterstock.com

With half the population of Syria forced from their homes as a result of the five-year-long civil war, now living either as refugees or internally displaced persons (IDPs), many are asking, “Will we be able to return to our original homes?” Recent changes to the legal framework in Syria governing the sale and purchase of private land raise concerns—both for the protection of land owned or long-occupied by displaced persons and for the development of any post-conflict land restitution process. Such regulations may also compound post-conflict reform of land administration practices and bring uncertainty to one of the few economic assets of displaced households.

Cultural heritage, identity and economy

Mashary Al Naim's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français
 Fedor Selivanov l Shutterstock.com

A year ago, we at the National Urban Heritage Center (NUHC) of the Saudi Commission for Tourism and National Heritage (SCTNH), published a study in cooperation with the World Bank to examine investment opportunities in urban heritage available for original owners. The study also explored ways we can support revitalizing old areas, a trend that forms the character of many old cities and gives them their unique flavor.

Strengthening Local Governments in Tunisia

Jaafar Sadok Friaa's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français
Video

Decentralization in Tunisia means empowering local government. A new World Bank project aims to build the capacity of local government and make it accountable. Jaafar Friaa, Team Leader for the Program discusses the project's goals.

Smart Cities in North Africa: A Localized Debate about a Global Trend

Mehrunisa Qayyum's picture
Also available in: العربية | Français
 Arne Hoel l World Bank

Walking past the Check-in counter in Casablanca’s Mohamed V International Airport, a digital sign claims X amount of solar energy used and X amount of energy savings occurred in powering a transit hub with the use of polycrystalline panel technology.  As a tourist, this may come as a pleasant surprise if she has not yet had the opportunity to see other improvements, like Rabat’s tram system.  As a citizen, this may be inspiring as the term “smart city” hints at better infrastructure and technology use.  However, what qualifies a city as a “smart city” is more often a topic for discussion only among Maghreb countries and not implementation.  

Time is Money, especially on Cairo’s Streets

Hartwig Schafer's picture
Also available in: العربية
 Om Prakash Agarwal

When I told friends and colleagues that my new job would be based in Cairo, almost everyone mentioned the awful congestion in the city, and how I would be wasting a tremendous amount of time being stuck in traffic. And how right they were: When it comes to traffic, Cairo is one of the most congested cities in the world. Of course, the city’s residents already know congestion is one of the city’s biggest problems. What they probably don’t know is exactly how much it’s costing them.

Getting Around in Moroccan Cities: Are you ready for the Challenge?

Ibtissam Alaoui's picture
Also available in: Français | العربية

This blog has been co-authored by Ibtissam Alaoui and Carolyn Winter Getting Around in Moroccan Cities: Are you ready for the Challenge?

If you are up for a challenge, hop on a bus or flag a taxi in one of Morocco’s   larger cities. If one thing is certain, relying on urban public transport in Morocco is a frustrating, time-consuming and sometimes risky experience.  These were the conclusions drawn by civil society organizations in a recent World Bank-sponsored consultation held in the capital, Rabat.

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