Nature in Built Space in the MENA Region

  • Ambe J. Njoh


The Middle-East and North Africa (MENA) region is unique in many ways. For one thing, built space in the region assumes an unconventional meaning. It is not comprised exclusively of concrete buildings and paved streets. Rather, it includes the modern urban centres as well as hamlets of makeshift shelters, ancillary facilities and the foot tracks connecting the hamlets to the communal fields that serve as the food source for livestock. For another thing, the region is characterized by natural features such as abundant oil reserves that constitute a boon to its economy; at the same time, it contains vast arid and desert areas that present enormous challenges to efforts to promote nature in built space. By analyzing the region, this chapter accentuates the need to contextualize discussions of nature in built space.


  1. Abdelrahim F (2019) The rise of renewable energy in the MENA region: an investigation into the policies governing energy resources. Working paper, Social Impact Research Experience (SIRE), The University of PennsylvaniaGoogle Scholar
  2. Akerlund U, Knuth L, Randrup TB, Schipperijn J (2006) Urban and peri-urban forestry and greening in West and Central Asia: experiences, constraints and prospects. LSP working paper 36: access to natural resources sub-programme, Food and Agricultural Organization (FAO)Google Scholar
  3. Barnouw V (1961) Chippewa social atomism. Am Anthropol 63(5):1006–1013CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Barrett R, Leal J (2017) Planning for successful street trees in arid climates. Online article on Accessed 12 July 2019 at:
  5. Barton A (2019) Water in crisis – Middle East. Online article for The Water Project, Inc. Accessed 2 July 2019 at
  6. Beeson M (2010) The coming of environmental authoritarianism. Environ Polit 19(2):276–294CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Bento G, Dias G (2017) The importance of outdoor play for young children’s healthy development. Porto Biomed J 2(5):157–160CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Brockopp J (2012) Introduction to special issue: Islam and ecology, law and practices of Muslim environmentalism. Worldviews 16:213–217.
  9. (Online) World’s largest vertical farm to feed Middle East’s high-fliers. Accessed 30 July 2019 at:
  10. Dixon J, Gulliver A, Gibbon, Hall M (2001) Farming systems and poverty: improving farmers’ livelihoods in a changing world. Rome: FAO. Available Online. Accessed 27 July 2017 at:
  11. DOC (2019) Economic and social development of the Middle East and North Africa: success or failure? Article by the Dialogue of Civilization Research Institute. Available online. Accessed 10 July 2019 at:
  12. Doyle T, Simpson A (2006) Traversing more than speed bumps: green politics under authoritarian regimes in Burma and Iran. Environ Polit 15(5):750–767. Scholar
  13. Draz O (2019) The hema system in the Arabian Peninsula. Retrieved, July 7, 2019 from:
  14. England A (2019) The 13 best heat-tolerant trees. Online Article on: The Spruce. Accessed 12 July 2019 at:
  15. Fahmy A, Dhillon N (2008) Urban and young: the future of the Middle East (Op-Ed). Available online. Accessed 10 July 2019 at:
  16. FAO (2002) Near east forestry commission: the use of Treated Waste Water (TWW) in forest plantations in the near east region. Secretariat Note. Available online. Access on 26 July 2019 at:
  17. FAO (2015) Status of the world’s soil resources: main status. (Chapter 13: regional assessment of soil changes in the Near East and North Africa). Rome: Italy. Available online. Retrieved, July 29, 2019 from:
  18. FAO (2019) An overview of land tenure in the near east region. (Part 1). Report produced for FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization) by Jon Rae. Available online. Accessed 10 July 2019 at:
  19. Faruqui NI (2001) Islam and water management: overview and principles. In: Faruqui NI, et al (eds) Water management in Islam. United Nations University Press, TokyoGoogle Scholar
  20. Faraqui NI, Biswas AK, Bino MJ (2001) Preface. In: Faraqui NI, Biswas AK, Bino MJ (eds) Water management in Islam. United Nations University Press, TokyoGoogle Scholar
  21. Faraqui N, Niang S, Redwood M (2002) Untreated wastewater reuse in market gardens: a case-study of Dakar, Senegal. In: Paper presented at the international water management institute workshop on wastewater reuse in irrigated agriculture: confronting the livelihood and environmental realities, international water management institute. Hyderabad, IndiaGoogle Scholar
  22. Gasiorowski M, Yom SL (eds) (2017) The government and politics of the Middle East and North Africa. Westview Press, BoulderGoogle Scholar
  23. Gertel J, Hexel R (eds) (2018) Coping with uncertainty: youth in the Middle East and North Africa. Saqi Books, LondonGoogle Scholar
  24. Ghazouani W, Molle F, Rap E (2012) Water users associations in the NEN region: IFAD interventions and overall dynamics. Draft report submitted to IFAD and the International Water Management Institute (IWMI). October 2012Google Scholar
  25. Gilley B (2012) Authoritarian environmentalism and China’s response to climate change. Environ Polit 21(2):287–307CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  26. Ginsburg KR (2007) The importance of play in promoting healthy child development and maintaining strong parent–child bonds. Pediatrics 119:182–188CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Hashem N (2013) Assessing spatial equality of urban green spaces provision: a case study of greater Doha in Qatar. Local Environ 20(3):386–399. Scholar
  28. Heilbroner RL (1974) An inquiry into the human prospect. Norton, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  29. Hope M, Young J (2019) Islam and Ecology. Online publication. Accessed 5 July 2019 at:
  30. (2017) How involve do I need to be in my community? Online publication, July 10, 2017. Accessed 7 July 2019 from
  31. Kjerfve B (2014) The state of higher education in the Middle East: documenting change, challenges and an undeniable opportunity. An Op-ed in U.S. News & World Report Online, Dec. 17, 2014. Accessed 12 July 2019 at:
  32. McBride J, Mossadegh A (2000) Tree-lined canals and the urban forest of Tehran. Arboric J 24:155–173CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Nasr SH (1968a) Man and nature: the spiritual crisis of modern man. George Allen and Unwin Ltd., LondonGoogle Scholar
  34. Nasr SH (1968b) Science and civilization in Islam. Harvard University Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  35. Nasr SH (1972) Sufi essays. George Allen and Unwin, LondonGoogle Scholar
  36. Nasr SH (1976) Islamic science: an illustrated study. World of Islam Festival Publishing Co/Thorson Publishers, LondonGoogle Scholar
  37. Nasr SH (1989) Knowledge and the sacred, the 1981 Gifford lectures. State University of New York Press, AlbanyGoogle Scholar
  38. Okuma N, Shinoda T (2009) Expansion of water recycling business in Dubai, Middle East. Hitachi Rev 58(6):246–250Google Scholar
  39. Rae J (2002) An overview of land tenure in the near east region. Part I; Part II, individual country profiles; and Bibliography. Rome, FAO. (mimeo)Google Scholar
  40. Scherer D (1982) Anthropocentrism, atomism, and environmental ethics. Environ Ethics 4(2):115–123CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Silva CS, Viegas I, Panagopoulos T, Bell S (2018) Environmental justice in accessibility to green infrastructure in two European cities. Land 7:134. Scholar
  42. Sowers J (2007) Nature reserves and authoritarian rule in Egypt: embedded autonomy revisited. J Environ Dev 16(4):375–397CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Tawk ST, Moussa Z, Hamadeh SK (n.d.) Mainstreaming urban agriculture in the Middle East and North Africa: a multi-stakeholder approach. Available online. Accessed 23 July 2019 at:
  44. The Economist (2015) Islam and ecology: in almost perfect harmony. Retrieved, July 5, 2019 from:
  45. Topcu M, Girgin S (2016) The impact of urbanization on energy consumption in the Middle East. J Int Global Econ Stud 9(1):21–28Google Scholar
  46. UN Environment (2018) How Islam can represent a model for environmental stewardship. Accessed 7 July 2019 at:
  47. UNDESA (2019) World urbanization prospects 2018 revision. United Nation Division of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA). Available online. Accessed 10 July 2019 at:
  48. UNEP (2012) Global environmental outlook (GEO-5): environment for the future we want. United Nations Environmental Programme, NairobiGoogle Scholar
  49. UNICEF (2019a) MENA generation 2030: investing in children and youth today to secure a prosperous region tomorrow. Online publication of the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Accessed 10 July 2010 at:
  50. UNICEF (2019b) Social policy: challenges. Online Publication by the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF). Accessed 12 July 2019 at:
  51. USAID (2016) Land tenure in urban environments. Issue brief. Available online. Accessed 16 July 2019 at:
  52. Uyl DJ, Rasmussen DB (2006) The myth of atomism. Rev Metaphys 59(4):841–868Google Scholar
  53. WCPA (2019) WCPA North Africa, West Asia and the Middle East. Online article for the World Commission on Protected Areas (WCPA). Retrieved, July 4, 2019 from:
  54. Wells P (2007) The green junta or, is democracy sustainable? Int J Environ Sustain Dev 6(2):208–220CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Wily LA (2018) Collective land ownership in the 21st century: overview of global trends. Land 7(2):68. Scholar
  56. World Bank (2019) Middle East and North Africa. Available online. Accessed 10 July 2019 at:
  57. (2019) Middle East and North Africa: youth facts. Available online. Accessed 10 July 2010 from:
  58. Zurayk R (2010) From incidental to essential: urban agriculture in the Middle East. J Agric Food Syst Commun Dev 1(2):13–16Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ambe J. Njoh
    • 1
  1. 1.School of GeosciencesUniversity of South FloridaTampaUSA

Personalised recommendations