Tuesday, June 10, 2008

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Syrian Arab Republic
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The trend of urbanization across the Arab States region, as in other parts of the world, continues to accelerate. In the past 20 years, the level of urbanization across the region has risen from 44.1 per cent to 59.9 per cent and is expected to reach 69.8 per cent by 2020. However the rate of urbanization is not evenly distributed throughout the various countries. The urban population has actually doubled in some cities while others are experiencing more restrained growth.

Damascus, the capital city of Syria and the oldest continuously inhabited city in the world, has been experiencing extremely rapid growth over the past 33 years. The urban population of Damascus has doubled every ten years during this time, reaching a growth rate of 27 per cent in the year 2005. The number of people living in this city has increased consistently since 1972 reaching over 3.5 million in 2005. In response to the demand for land for urban development the Damascus Metro Council has expanded the regional urban growth boundary (UGB) by approximately 13,000 acres resulting in clearance of forested land, primarily for housing and road networks.

The two Landsat images show the rapid growth of Damascus between 1972 and 2005. The grey colour on these images represents area covered by urban development, the green parts show vegetation cover which has been shrinking as land is cleared for urbanization.
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