A Socio-Urban Account of Jeddah Slums, Saudi Arabia

Hisham A. Mortada

Abstract


For the last few decades, the urban and social fabric of the city of Jeddah, a major and most populated city in Saudi Arabia, has been dominated by slums. It is estimated that the city consists of more than fifty slums scattered throughout the city. While many local urban planners and designers find it hard to comprehend the presence and continuous growth of these districts in the light of the various efforts made by the government to improve the urban and social quality in Saudi Arabia, these slums seem far away from being controlled or at least redeveloped.

This paper analyses the history of Jeddah’s slums, their emergence, scale and urban and social characteristics. This is verified by a discussion of al-Sabeel, which is a main slum in Jeddah, and an examination of measures taken by Jeddah Municipality to deal with these physically and socially deteriorated areas. The paper also gives some insight on solutions implemented in international cases to improve slum conditions in Asia and South America. It culminates a list of recommendations to consider in dealing with Jeddah slums. These recommendations vary from provision of flexible means of affordable housing and empowerment and participation of slum dwellers, to legalization of the residency of non-Saudi dwellers, setting up long term strategies to prevent the appearance of new slums and establishing vocational programs to improve the economic and social conditions of dwellers.


Keywords


Slums, Urban Upgrade, Jeddah, Urban Redevelopment, Al-Sabeel, Guarapiranga.

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