The Riyadh Urban Growth Boundary: An Analysis of the Factors Affecting its Efficiency on Restraining Sprawl


  • Mohamed Saleh Amer Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Faculty of Built Environment and Surveying, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, 81310 UTM Johor Bahru, Malaysia.
  • Mohammad Rafee Majid Department of Urban and Regional Planning, Faculty of Built Environment and Surveying, Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, 81310 UTM Johor Bahru, Malaysia.
  • Tahar A. Ledraa Department of Urban Planning, College of Architecture and Planning, King Saud University, Riyadh, Saudi Arabia



Urban growth boundary, Growth Management, Urban Sprawl, Urban containment strategies, Saudi Arabia


Recently, research on sprawl was increasing due to its impacts on the economy, society, and environment. Several studies have focused on the application of containment strategies to curb urban sprawl. Urban growth boundaries (UGBs) were among the containment policies adopted to tackle the issue of sprawling cities. This paper set out to undertake an analysis of the factors influencing the performance of the UGB of Riyadh City. A qualitative data analysis using NVivo12 software was adopted. To collect the required data of UGB, semi-structured interviews were conducted with nine experts involved in urban management, Riyadh city development, and other planning agencies. If the application of UGB policy in the western countries has managed to restrain more or less city sprawl, its replication to the case of Riyadh seems to have had some adverse impacts. That is, instead of controlling urban sprawl, it has stimulated it. The reasons may lie in the deficiency of monitoring and evaluation of urban studies, free provision of infrastructure, and lack of coordination between different city planning agencies. Understanding the factors affecting the UGB efficiency​will assist policymakers and urban planners in reducing the spread of scattered and leapfrog residential development, lowering the cost of service supply and promoting infill development


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How to Cite

Amer, M. S., Majid, M. R., & Ledraa, T. A. (2021). The Riyadh Urban Growth Boundary: An Analysis of the Factors Affecting its Efficiency on Restraining Sprawl. International Journal of Built Environment and Sustainability, 8(3), 17–25.