Urbanisation and Migration in Saudi Arabia: The Case of Buraydah City
thesisposted on 06.03.2012, 11:25 by Ahmad Mohammad A. Al Bassam
This thesis is an examination of urbanisation in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region and a further examination of urbanisation in Saudi Arabia; more specifically, the drivers, patterns and consequences of migration urbanisation are addressed. The case study examines the experiences of migration and urbanisation in Buraydah City in Saudi Arabia and focuses on three groups of migrants; namely, urban to urban migrants, villagers and Bedouin from desert areas in order to gain the perspectives of different types of migrants experiencing the same migration. The study adopts a multi-dimensional approach to understanding such processes in that it considers the political and socio-cultural aspects as well as the economic aspects as factors. The MENA region is experiencing one of the fastest rates of urbanisation in the world and is unique because it has rich and poor nations as well as nations that are experiencing conflict. These factors have led to mass migration within and from outside the region, directly impacting urbanisation. Moreover, Buraydah City in Saudi Arabia is used as a case study because it is a medium-sized city and most urbanisation is being witnessed in cities of this size, and has been neglected in the literature. Urbanisation in Buraydah City was investigated through a field study which involved a questionnaire, interviews and oral histories and the results were analysed using SPSS and NVivo software. Moreover, a general mapping of patterns of urbanisation and population growth in MENA and Saudi Arabia using GIS. The results of the study suggest that although there is diversity within MENA in terms of urbanisation as a result of its economic diversity, government policy and conflicts, on the whole the region shows universality. The study also showed that Saudi Arabia has similar drivers of urbanisation to that of MENA; however, in contrast, the consequences for migrants were found to be positive. The main driver was the search for work; the specific reasons behind this driver differed from country to country. The study also found that besides differences in drivers and consequences between the migrant groups, there were also generational differences.