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Report Launch | Resource Urbanisms: Asia’s divergent city models of Kuwait, Abu Dhabi, Singapore and Hong Kong

The Resource Urbanisms: Asia’s divergent city models of Kuwait, Abu Dhabi, Singapore and Hong Kong report has launched in Kuwait. The report consolidates key findings of the Resource Urbanisms project that LSE Cities led between 2015 and 2017. This research, supported by the Kuwait Programme at the LSE Middle East Centre investigates questions of urban form, geography and sustainability in Kuwait and the Gulf States as part of a broader comparative analysis of divergent forms of urban growth in Asia. Given the distinct patterns of urban development, and the central role of land availability and natural resources, particularly oil, in Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states, this research focuses on two natural resources, land and energy, and explores their relationships with urban form, transport and housing. It analyses these relationships through a comparative case study approach focusing on the city of Kuwait and Abu Dhabi in the GCC, and Hong Kong and Singapore in East Asia. Both the GCC and East Asian case studies are cities with similar income levels, but exhibit contrasting forms of urban development. More importantly, Kuwait and Abu Dhabi are endowed with vast amounts of natural resources, while Hong Kong and Singapore possess limited natural resources, making them useful and contrasting cases for comparative purposes.

The research had four main objectives: first, it analysed the models of urban development that have emerged in Kuwait, Abu Dhabi, Hong Kong and Singapore through an inter-urban and intra-urban comparison. Second, it compared the models of urbanisation in Kuwait and Abu Dhabi with the contrasting forms of development in Hong Kong and Singapore. Third, it provided fresh evidence on the relationship between the built environment, land availability and energy costs, with a particular focus on transport and urban form as well as housing and urban morphology. Finally, it sought to better understand the dynamics between the availability and costs of resources, government interventions, urban form and infrastructure, and environmental outcomes.

The research demonstrates the centrality of urban form in influencing resource use and consumption and vice versa. The research also shows that policymaking decisions related to urban form and infrastructure in cities such as Kuwait, Abu Dhabi, Singapore and Hong Kong will play a critical role in shaping urban futures and global sustainability goals.

Download report (17.5 MB)

A London launch event will be advertised on our website

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