Arab Sustainable Urbanism: Worlding Strategies, Local Struggles

  • Eric Verdeil CERI-Sciences Po
Keywords: Green Urbanism, Climate Change, Megaprojects, Rentier States, Arab Cities


Unlike many metropolises that use green urbanism as a worlding strategy, Arab cities seem reluctant to embark on ambitious schemes addressing sustainability issues. To explain this situation, the article highlights three arguments. Firstly, as state-led governance prioritizes social stability, existing green plans have been scrapped in the face of political threats. Second, large, allegedly sustainable projects such as Masdar should not hide ongoing unsustainable urbanization features. Thirdly, the dominant framings of sustainability tend to focus on global issues (greenhouse gas emissions and low carbon energy), hence neglecting local claims for sustainability that do not fit into global environmental narratives.

Author Biography

Eric Verdeil, CERI-Sciences Po

Eric Verdeil is professor of Geography and Urban Studies at Sciences Po, Centre for International Studies (CERI), CNRS, Paris, France. His research deals with the political ecology of urban infrastructure—more precisely energy and waste management. His main ground of fieldwork is Lebanon.

How to Cite
Verdeil, E. “Arab Sustainable Urbanism: Worlding Strategies, Local Struggles”. Middle East - Topics & Arguments, Vol. 12, no. 1, June 2019, pp. 35-42, doi:10.17192/meta.2019.12.7935.