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Sustainable urban planning strategies for mitigating climate change in Saudi Arabia

Abstract

There is a growing attention on the role of rapidly growing developing countries in mitigating climate change, especially in curbing the emissions of greenhouse gases. Estimates show that in the year 2011, carbon dioxide (CO2) emissions from developing countries constituted about 63% of the world’s total, compared with only 37% for developed countries. Thus, developing countries must be an integral part of global actions toward combating climate change. In Saudi Arabia, the energy use per capita of 6937.23 kg of oil equivalent in 2014 was 3.6 times the global average and the per capita CO2 emission of 19.53 metric tons was the seventh highest. With sensitive ecosystems, limited freshwater resources and substantial coastal developments, the country is vulnerable to climate change. As such, the country has recently initiated some sustainable urban planning strategies in its major urban centers as part of its climate change mitigation and adaptation efforts. However, few studies have assessed the extent of the implementation of the strategies. Based on secondary data analysis, this article found that the implementation of the strategies is at infancy with urban greening, public transportation, and green building projects gradually gaining prominence. The paper recommends more focus on rising building and population density, mandating mixed land uses, as well as public enlightenment and engagement about climate change impacts and energy choices.

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(Data source: UN Habitat 2016)

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(Data source: UN Habitat 2016)

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Correspondence to Ismaila Rimi Abubakar.

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Abubakar, I.R., Dano, U.L. Sustainable urban planning strategies for mitigating climate change in Saudi Arabia. Environ Dev Sustain 22, 5129–5152 (2020). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10668-019-00417-1

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Keywords

  • Adaptation and mitigation
  • Building density
  • Carbon emissions
  • Climate change
  • Compact cities
  • Environment
  • Greenhouse gases
  • Sustainability
  • Transportation
  • Urban planning