Journal Article Local Spatial Impacts of Globalization in Developing Countries: The Case of Sohar, Oman

Talal, Al-Awadhi

In the last few decades, economic development and urban expansion have become a feature of modern society, especially with fast-growing economies in both developed and developing countries. Economic activities play a major role in most urban activities in all countries, controlling urban growth and its trends, which then could lead to affecting the land use change over time. Globalization in general terms refer to the expansion of global linkages and implies the opening of local and national outlooks to a broader perspective of an interconnected and interdependent world with free transfer of capital, goods, and services. The Sultanate of Oman has undergone rapid globalization in the last three decades, and Sohar city is an example of globalization in action. The city has grown from discrete isolated settlements with fewer than 35,000 inhabitants in the late 1970s to a medium size urban center with a total population of almost 197,000 inhabitants in fewer than 35 years. In the last fifteen years alone, the city has received more than $10 billion investment value from both government and international investors. This money has been invested mainly in the Sohar port, industrial area and free zone area as the focus of domestic and international investment in the city. This study aims at displaying and measuring the spatial impact of globalization on urban growth of Sohar city. The methodology employed in the study is based on a combination of Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and Remote Sensing (RS) to investigate the spatial changes of land use in addition to other supporting socio-economic and demographic data. The study traced the historical development of the city growth, and the results have revealed the substantial change particularly in the growth and expansion of built-up area into open space and green areas.

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