Urban Oman Exhibition

Exhibition on Urbanisation Patterns in Oman on display at GUtech, Hablan Campus from March 23rd to June 12th 2014.

Urbanisation is characterized through continious growth and expansion of existing urban settlement and at the same time through continious transformation of settlement patterns in the more rural areas. The case studies allow for detailed insights into the current way of how urbanisation is performing – interestingly quite similar in fringe zones of Muscat and in rural areas linked by highways to the Capital area.

The exhibition illustrates on 14 panels the background of urbanisation and its dynamics in Oman, and focuses on characteristic features of settlement patterns that have been developing during the last 40 years. These are in particular the physical lay-out of settlements, access, street patterns, and house types. The two case studies are presented in a way that would also allow to compare them easily. Special light is thrown on rapid changes that are going on during the past 5 years. Current typologies and characteristic patterns of settlements as documented in the case studies have been analysed and evaluated in order to identify the mechanisms behind that foster a particular development. A set of driving forces have been formulated that allow for better understanding of the ongoing processes. These are among others the physical planning standards and building regulations and infrastructure provision, overall planning and development policies, land allocation systems, and but also predominant life-style patterns, car-based mobility, and physical constraints in the Muscat Capital Area. The exhibition ends up with a "manifesto on sustainable development" to specify the comprehensive notion of sustainability and translates it to the Omani context.

The exhibition is meant as one contribution to disseminate research results to a broader public and to stimulate a discourse on crucial issues of future development in the country. The exhibition was previewed to Vice President of the German Parliament Claudia Roth and opened by the Minister of Housing on March 23rd 2014.

Exhibition opening by the Omani Minister of Housing
Omani press coverage
Preview to Vice President of the German Parliament Claudia Roth

Urbanisation Conference

International Conference on Challenges of Urbanisation in Arab Gulf Countries March 23. - 25. 2014 
Venue: German University of Technology (GUtech) / Halban Campus
 Organisation: GUtech, Prof. Dr. Sonja Nebel, Aurel von Richthofen

Compact City Oman

Compact city is a design for a sustainable neighborhood in Al Khoudh within the larger Muscat Capital Area based on cultural, climatic and economic criteria of sustainability. This model – both a research method to evaluate, interpret and integrate specific criteria of sustainability as well as a design proposal for a sustainable neighborhood - exemplifies an integrated approach to urbanism adapted to the local Omani conditions.

Scitech TV - Houses

Scitech TV documents the research project sponsored by the Research Council Oman "Towards Sustainable Patterns of Urbanisation in Oman" conducted by GUtech and SQU, featuring Aurel von Richthofen and Haitham Al Busafi as well as GUtech students.

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.

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.


The research project Semantic Urban Elements explores new computational methods to harness urban knowledge graphs and semantic urban design.