the practice of urban planning, land management and urban design in Libya and the MENA region - focus on urban sprawl - a phenomenon of scattered and fragmented urban development, informal development, and urban sustainability - focus on compact city model and participatory planning
Urban sprawl is a challenge to the sustainability of many cities around the world. Fragmented urban development and vacant land are widespread problems in many Arab cities (UN-Habitat, 2012) which are, according to Ben-Hamouch, mainly a result of modern planning and poor land management (2013).
This study addresses the problem of urban fragmentation at the neighbourhood level and examines to what extent the concept of compact urban form can contribute to the improvement of social and environmental sustainability in the Libyan city of Benghazi and to Arab cities in general. The objectives and scope of this study have justified a typological approach, where eleven residential sites that present different urban patterns in the city have been investigated. The selection of case studies was driven by the availability of data and meant to cover the main urban typologies within this context and the important local issues.
This research, which has been conducted to explore and explain the relationships that exist between local urban patterns and their performance in terms of sustainability, has produced valuable knowledge and helped to identify measures which target the improvement of the urban quality in the city and enhance its environmental sustainability. This research draws on the argument that adopting a type of human scale urbanism, which is relatively compact and dense, well-connected and comfortably diverse, coupled with concepts of urban greening and flexible development relevant to the local context, would help to create a high quality urban form that is liveable and affordable, while causing minimum damage to the natural environment.
This work is an attempt to respond and add to the ongoing debate on urban sustainability in the developing countries (see: (Jenks, 2000)). It is anticipated that this work can help in raising awareness of the impact of urban fragmentation on the sustainability of the built environment in Benghazi and to advance research on sustainable planning theory and practice based on real-life experience and responses to local conditions.