Jeddah, an important Saudi focal point due to the holy Islam centres Mecca and Medina in its vicinity, is a burgeoning city that has grown at the expense of its surroundings.
Its informal settlements are particularly vulnerable as they lack the proper infrastructure, posing a risk to health and safety of the entire community.
The settlements, which supply low-cost housing for underprivileged citizens and immigrants, have emerged as a result of unmet demand for low- and middle-income housing, and are in violation of the adopted local planning policies.
The areas, labelled ‘unplanned’ or ‘informal’ settlements encounter enormous urban inequalities, including difficulties with setting and achieving prioritized targets aimed at reclaiming the settlements and helping transform the city into a cosmopolitan community.
The temporary housing solutions impede the growth and the quality of surrounding neighbourhoods, while still posing pressure on the municipality to provide affordable and adequate quarters for the growing population.
Spontaneous growth and layouts closely following those of the old city, with a network of small streets, shaded alleys and no passable motorized traffic resulted in neighbourhoods losing internal connectivity, making the city hard to navigate, service and desegregate.
Regeneration and reorganization of the informal areas into regular, unified neighbourhoods will free up the land and help create opportunities for responsible and sustainable future land uses.
More info: Fantasy cities, Saudi reality, Dev’t and urban reg, Strategic Plan, UN-HABITAT.