Trialog Journal - Muscat Peak-Space

This paper presents a new method derived from Object- Based Image Analysis (OBIA) to generate spatio-temporal and density maps of urbanised areas in arid climates. The case study of the Muscat Capital Area (MCA) is particular interesting since the young development of the city coin- cides with the availability of LANDSAT satellite data, which dates back as far as 1984 for the area. Moreover, Oman offers a varied urban morphology that can be explained both geographically and historically (Al-Awadhi 2007), yet, in regard to the greater region of the MCA, it has never been examined. OBIA-derived maps allow, for the first time, qualified statements about the spatial development of the city. Analysing the regional urbanisation area, the concept of peak space is established as an indicator for exhaustive resource of land use and limit of urbanisation.


von Richthofen, Aurel, and Sebastian Langer. 2015. “Evaluating the Urban Development and Determining ‘Peak-Space’ of Muscat Capital Area.” Edited by Scholz, Wolfgang and Sonja Nebel. Trialog – Journal for Planning and Building in the Third World 111 (Urbanisation in the Gulf Countries).



Topos Journal: Desert Sprawl

Aurel writes in Topos, the International Review of Landscape, Architecture and Urban Design about landscape destruction in Oman due to rapid urbanization. The essay is accompagnied by a photo series and appears in two versions online 2014 and in print 2015.

Baumeister Journal: Oman - the Anti-Dubai?

Aurel writes about urbanisation trends and sustainability in Oman in Germany's oldest architecture magazine - Baumeister. The conservative development in Muscat is seen in contrast to fast paced Dubai. The specificities of urban sprawl, land allocation system, destruction of landscape are descrtibed as well as typical modern villas and sub-urban settlement patterns. The article concludes with a manifesto for sustainable urbanism adapted to Oman.

Arab Gulf Cities in Transition: Space, Politics and Society

The cities in the Arab Gulf are developing in a fast and unprecedented way. The vast majority of the growing population of the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries are concentrated in these cities. While they are a focal point for immigration, they are unique spaces and places on various other levels, too: In many cases the Arab Gulf cities represent the exclusive political and economic centres of their countries; they consume a vast amount of energy; they have surpassed other Arab cities in their size and scale; their exponential growth is driven by diminishing fossil resources and, therefore, they have realised the urgent need to adopt sustainable development policies.

Urban Oman Research

The research project “Towards Sustainable Patterns of Urbanization” founded by The Research Council Oman (TRC) has lead to various collaborations with other international academic institutions. As co-investigator on the project in Oman, I have been coordinating these exchanges and channeling them into significant contributions to the larger research project while providing the students with academic frame-work, access and exposure.

Scitech TV - City

Scitech TV documents the research project sponsored by the Research Council Oman "Towards Sustainable Patterns of Urbanisation in Oman" conducted by GUtech and SQU a second time, featuring Aurel von Richthofen, Maryam Zargar Yaghoubi and Sebastian Langer as well as GUtech students.