Major cities come at the top of settlement hierarchy in the Sultanate, and that by 2040, Oman would have established future-proofed livable smart cities.
In line with Vision 2040, Oman is introducing Greater Cities concept as they play as major engines of growth thanks to their role as economic gateways and national centres.
“The significant economic and population growth in these cities will require expansion of their urban containment boundary so that they integrate with their neighbouring settlements”, affirms Oman National Spatial Strategy report.
This, according to the report, in turn will benefit from the opportunities available in the larger cities, leading to the emergence of Greater Cities concept, represented in Greater Muscat, Greater Salalah, Greater Sohar and Greater Nizwa.
“The cities will provide high-quality services, qualifying them to be centers of innovation, creativity and advanced education, involving various sectors that provide services to a wider range of urban and rural areas”, points out the report.
The report expects that smart, sustainable and vibrant cities and a vital countryside with a viable architecture that ensures high quality of life, work, and leisure.
Greater Muscat Greater Muscat is based on a diversified economic base. It is absorbed by Barka, and revolves around a finance, knowledge and innovation-based economy, including logistics and tourism sectors.
It is planned to be a major regional capital city, supported by growth of the knowledge and innovation economy, logistics, finance, tourism and the service sector.
The city emerges as a pioneer at the level of the Gulf Cooperation Council due to its natural characteristics attracting people to live, work and recreate altogether.
“Allocating specific sites of a specific economic nature that have financial and regulatory incentives will enable them to attract investments and promote economic growth”, the report says.
In this direction the report names hubs such as business area in Ghala and the airport, the knowledge and innovation area in Al Khoudh and Halban, and the clean industries area like Al Misfah and Al Rusayl.
Urban transformation in the city areas include renewal areas (Ruwi and Muttrah), and redevelopment areas such as Ghala, enabling them to play their new role as a central business and commercial area characterised by high density and versatility.
Directing the development around integrated public transport stations, as the scope of influence of these stations has been limited to about 800 metres on the light metro track and the express bus route, and then around these stations will be a dense, multi-use development, including business and retail offices and housing.
Seven parks and longitudinal parks were identified in the valleys within the city of Muscat.
Greater Sohar Region, by including Liwa, becomes the main engine for growth in the governorate, with an emphasis on the manufacturing and logistics sector.
Greater Salalah region, through its integration with Taqah, emerges as the economic nucleus of the governorate, especially with the presence of the port, airport, free zone and its environs Industrial and logistical activities.
The beautiful and green city of Salalah has a pleasant climate that attracts highly skilled workers, both nationals and expats, to boost the newly established high-tech industries in and near the port, the free zone and the airport.
The National Strategy seeks to protect and value the assets of cultural heritage aligned with the requirements of sustainable urban, social and economic planning.
Accordingly, Greater Nizwa, including Manah and Birkat Al Mowz, focuses on development in the supporting sectors for knowledge and innovation, such as higher education, research and services commercial, marketing, mining and tourism (natural and heritage).