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Research on the Planning and Development of Industrial Cities in the Middle East Arab Countries Under the Belt and Road Initiative
Zhao Sidong, Wang Xingping, Qu Penghui, Tarek Rahmoun
Abstract Industrial city is an important concept in urban planning. This paper discusses the connotation, origination, quantity, scale, type, distribution, achievements, and planning characteristics of industrial cities in the Middle East Arab countries through literature, statistical, and comparative analyses. It identifies the problems and challenges industrial cities in the Middle East Arab countries are facing and proposes relevant countermeasures for their transformation under the new situation of the Belt and Road Initiative. At present, the research shows that there are about 100 industrial cities planned and constructed in Saudi Arabia, Syria, Qatar, and other Middle East Arab countries. Composed of free trade zones, industrial parks, and handicraft zones, a multi-levelled carrier system is formed for regional industrialization, helping to optimize the urban and economic geography pattern and to promote the integration of industrialization and urbanization of the region. They become a systematic upgrade and comprehensive transcendence of free trade zones and industrial zones, forming a comprehensive platform for the Middle East Arab countries to promote resource development and integration, industry upgrading and transformation, and industry-city integration and symbiosis. The paper proposes that China and the Middle East Arab countries should learn from each other regarding the planning and development of industrial cities and manage to achieve the coordinated development between China’s Overseas International Cooperation Parks and the Middle East Arab countries’ industrial cities.

Keywords industrial city; urban planning; Belt and Road Initiative; Middle East



1.Introduction

Located at the intersection of the Silk Road Economic Belt and the 21st Century Maritime Silk Road, the Middle East is China’s most crucial source of energyimport, partner of economy and trade, and market for overseas investment.Having long-term friendly ties with China, it takes a significant position in China’s Belt and Road Initiative (BRI hereinafter) and its international industrial capacity cooperation. At the same time, the Middle East is also one of the world’s most turbulent areas, a key reason being that the failure of industrialization makes it hard to resolve the problems of development.Although the Middle East Arab countries have tried hard to implement industrialization strategies, given importance to industrial development, and have made remarkable progresses in industrialization, the industrialization process has been repeatedly interrupted. Up to now, the secondary industry still fails to dominate the regional economy, with a low rate of job opportunity. In recent years, with the slump in oil price, the new round of worldwide industrial transfer, and the development of technological revolution,the Middle East Arab countries successively put forward a strategy of economic diversification, with regard to which the promotion of re-industrialization and the planning and construction of industrial cities became the key. The industrial cities are not only the growth pole of the new wave of the Middle East’s industrialization, but also an important physical carrier for the international industrial capacity cooperation between China and the Middle East Arab countries under the BRI. The planning and development of industrial citiesin the Middle East Arab countries determines the success or failure of not only the re-industrialization of the region, but also the ambition of China to reshape the world’s economic geography through the BRI and the international industrial capacity cooperation strategy.

 

Aiming at meeting the needs for large-scale industrial development of a city, the planning theory of an industrial city can make up for the shortcomings of mixed industries and residences. It gives birth to the principle of urban function zoning in the Athens Charter and has been studied by scholars from both the academic and practical circles of urban and rural planning for a long time. Up to now, the studies mainly focus on the following aspects: strategic planning (Silin, Dvoryadkina, and Antipin, 2018), residential planning (Mondal and Das,2018), and planning evaluation (Qiong, 2017) of industrial cities; technical methods (Rysz and Janiszek, 2015) and planning failure cases (Mohl and Betten,1972) of regional planning; revitalization (Tarasova and Rudneva, 2018), transformation (He and Zhang, 2018; Dong, Zhang, et al., 2017; Dong, 2014; Dongand Zhang, 2008), and brownfield redevelopment (Jigoria-Oprea and Popa, 2017) of old industrial cities; transformation of industrial cities in China (Liu,He, et al., 2010) and developed countries like the UK (Yang and Yin, 2013; Caoand Tang, 2013; Huang and Jiao, 2018) and the US (Yuan, 2015); planning history of industrial cities of China (Li, Peng, and Huang, 2006), the Soviet Union (Barykina, 2017), Canada (Tremblay, 1996), and so on; characteristics of post-industrial city (Rousseau, 2013) and its public space transformation (Ercan, 2016); comprehensive land use planning and management (Martinat et al.,2018; Ferm and Jones, 2016); planning technology for resource-based (Pang,2017), energy-based (Rocco, 2016; Cui, 1987), mountainous-type (Guo, 1979), micro and small-scale (Cheng, Tang, et al., 1958) industrial cities; and sustainable development of industrial cities (Li, Beeton, et al., 2015). Among them, there are a few on the planning and development of industrial cities in the Middle East Arab countries, such as a comparative analysis on the industrial city planning of Jubail and Yanbu (Al-But’hie and Eben Saleh, 2002) and specialized studies on land surface temperature (Mujabar and Rao, 2018), earthquake-resistant zoning (Ahmed and Al Shayea, 2017), surface water quality (Siddiqi, Saleem, and Basheer, 2016), wind speed and its power characteristics (Baseer, Meyer, et al., 2015), and so on.

 

Under the circumstance of ascendant re-industrialization in the Middle East Arab countries, industrial cities are becoming the most important carrier fo rregional development. Special studies are urgently needed to summarize development experiences and explore planning techniques and methods. To this end, this paper attempts to use a variety of analytical methods to explore the connotation, origination, quantity, scale, type, distribution, achievements, and planning characteristics of industrial cities in the Middle East Arab countries. It tries to identify the problems and challenges the industry cities are faced in terms of planning and development and put forward relevant countermeasures for their transformation under the new situation of BRI.

 

2.Situation of industrial city development in the Middle East Arab countries

2.1Origination and connotation

In order to promote the process of industrialization for economic diversification, Saudi Arabia proposed industrial city development in its First Five-YearDevelopment Plan (1970 – 1975) and initiated its industrial city constructionin 1973 by promulgating a decree. From the period of the Second Five-Year Development Plan (1975 – 1980), the industrial city construction was scaled up throughout the country with remarkable achievements. Subsequently, Jordan,Qatar, Syria, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Bahrain, Oman, and other Middle Eastern countries followed up to commence their industrial city planning andconstruction in accordance with their needs for industrialization and economic diversification (see Figure 1).  The development and achievements of the industrial cityplanning and development in the Middle East Arab countries over the past 50 years prove that the industrial cities are well adapted to the region’s needs for large-scale industrial development. Authorized by relevant laws or policies,they are established to attract industrial enterprises to be an important carrier for industrialization, economic diversification, and sustainable development. They integrate and transcend free trade zones and ordinary cities to become a historical product and regional leader for the coordinated development of industrialization and urbanization in the Middle East Arab countries.

 

 


Figure 1 The origination and objectives of industrial cities in some Middle East Arab countries


 

2.2 Role and status

The Middle East Arab countries experienced a very tortuous industrialization path. Obstructed by external forces and constrained by regional factors, most countries have swung between the strategies of de-industrialization and re-industrialization, leading to repeated interruption or to being cut-off of the industrialization process. So far, the overall industrialization level of the Middle East Arab Countries are low (Huang, 2015) and most countries have an “artificially high” or “leaping” industrialization.  In order to promote the industrialization development, the region has planned to build eight types of industrial zones (see Figure 2), including free trade zones, industrial parks, and industrial cities, which are designated to be industrial and commercial development carriers. Among them, the industrial cities are expected to achieve coordinated development of industrialization and urbanization and have become the key physical carrier for the further development of economic diversification and re-industrialization (see Figure 3). In 2018, there were totally more than 100 industrial cities planned and built in the region (see Figure 4), distributed in over 60% of the Middle East Arab countries. Among them, Saudi Arabia, Syria, Qatar, and Jordan have relatively more industrial cities thanks to comparatively early commencement and complete systems, while Lebanon, Iraq, the UAE, Oman, and Kuwait are quickening the planning and development of industrial cities.

 

 

Figure 2 The position of industrial cities in the economic diversification strategy and industrial agglomeration areas of the Middle East Arab countries

 

 

Figure 3 The industrialization process and industrial city development in the MiddleEast Arab countries

 

 

Figure 4 A comparison of the industrial cities in some Middle East Arab countries

  

Comparatively speaking, in the Middle East Arab countries, industrial cities and industrial parks have many similarities. They are both the important investment market of the Middle East Arab countries, because of good location, convenient transportation, preferential policies, and comprehensive infrastructure. However, they also differ significantly from each other in terms of scale, institution, and function (see Figure 5). The industrial city is a system upgrade and comprehensive transcendence of industrial parks and free trade zones, as well as a comprehensive platform for resource-industry integration, industrial transformation, and industry-city integration.

 

Figure 5 A comparison between the industrial city and the industrial park

 

2.3 Development mode

In terms of planning characteristics, the Middle East Arab countries’ industrialcity development mode can be classified into three types, i.e., park-mode, city-mode, and real estate-mode. The park-mode is mainly practiced in Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Kuwait. It takes the industrial city as an agglomeration area of industries and production services, where basic living and service facilities like labors’ residence are built for jobs-housing balance while large-scale development of high-end residential and commercial projects are prohibited. The city-mode is mainly adopted by Syria, Qatar, Egypt, Iran, etc. It takes the industrial city as a city for main purpose of industrial development, where contiguous industrial, residential, commercial, and ecological areas are built to promote the integrated development of the city and the industry. The real estate-mode is mainly implemented in Jordan, Oman, Iraq, etc. It takes industrial city as an industrial real estate project which is small in terms of area yet advanced in terms of facilities.

 

In terms of operator nature, industrial cities in the Middle East Arab countries can be categorized into two types, i.e., state-owned and private ones. Thestate-owned industrial cities are often developed under the leadership of local governments, while the private ones are often developed by one or several private industrial park/zone operators. In general, most city-mode industrial cities are state-owned and most real estate-mode industrial cities are private,while the park-mode industrial cities are either stated-owned or private, although more are state-owned. Furthermore, there are five women’s industrial cities in Saudi Arabia, that is Al-Ahsa Oasis, Jeddah Oasis, Qassim Oasis, Al-Jouf Oasis, and Yanbu Oasis.

 

2.4 Typical cases

2.4.1 Park-mode industrial city in Saudi Arabia

In the 1970s, Saudi Arabia started to build three industrial cities, i.e., Jeddah (1971), Riyadh (1973), and Dammam (1973) which covered a total area of 1.4 km2, marking the beginning of the industrial city development in the Middle East Arab countries. Since the Second Five-Year Development Plan (1975 – 1980), Saudi Arabia launched a large-scale industrial city development plan nation wide and, by the end of the Seventh Five-Year Development Plan (1999 – 2004), there were 14 industrial cities built in total. Up to now, Saudi Arabia has planned 45 industrial cities, of which 33 are either built up or under construction and 12 are scheduled to be built (see Figure 6). Meanwhile, in order to strengthen the planning and management of the industrial cities, the Royal Commission for Jubail and Yanbu (RCJY) was established in 1975 for planning and managing theenergy-intensive industrial cities, including Jubail, Yanbu, Ras Al-Khair, and Jazan. In 2001, the Saudi Authority for Industrial Cities and Technology Zones, known as MODON, was established as a governmental organization responsible for industrial city planning, management, development, and operation, which is currently in charge of 35 industrial cities. By 2018, the industrial cities of Saudi Arabia already saw the development of industrial land of 196 km2 (see Figure 7), the agglomeration of about 3,810 industrial enterprises and 6,271 supporting service companies (logistics, design, finance, etc.), which accounted for 56% of the country’s total enterprises, attracted a total investment of more than 133.3 billion US dollars, and created over 500,000 employment positions.

 

Figure 6 The distribution of planned industrial cities in Saudi Arabia, Syria, andJordan

 

Figure 7 The changes of the developed land area in the industrial cities of Saudi Arabia

  

2.4.2 City-mode industry city in Syria

Todate, Syria has built up four industrial cities and is planning for another two by 2030. In addition (Regional Planning Commission, 2012; Hatoum, 2018;Samaoua, 2019), there are seven other large and medium-sized industrial bases (distributed inland or near the border), which will become the core of future industrial parks to ensure the security of regional services and logistics services. In 2004, the Decree No. 57 of 2004 on the Establishment of Industrial Cities was promulgated and implemented to strengthen the planning, construction,and management of industrial cities. The industrial cities have played an important role in attracting investments, creating job positions, driving economic growth, and protecting national industry development. In 2017, the economic recovery indicators of the industrial cities started to rise, and they reached good proportions that reflect the real size of the investment, a total investment of 86.5 billion Syrian pounds, producing total revenue of 49.81 billion Syrian pounds and creating about 137,000 job positions. The industrial cities attach great importance to the construction of factories and other related facilities, with the average proportion of industrial land use accounting for over 25% of the total and the average proportion of the land use for industrial production accounting for over 58% of the industrial land use (see Figure 8). On the other hand, the number of operating enterprises reached to 2,231, while the number of the enterprise under construction was 2,750. Hisyah industrial city occupies a privileged position on the Syrian economy mapand is considered as a strategic development project on the regional level to support the national economy and push forward the comprehensive development process. It did not stop working throughout the war, with no damages, so it was a home for the workforce during the war with the aim of creating a favorable environment for investment and an incubator to attract all kinds of industries. Hence, industrial cities/areas have become the main area for Syria’s post-warre construction and are regarded as the key to restoring Syria’s industrial system. By the end of 2017, more than 75% of the post-war reconstruction funds were used for industrial city construction and development.

 

 

Figure 8 A comparative analysis on the development of the industrial cities in Syriain 2017

 

2.4.3 Real estate-mode industrial city in Jordan

Currently, Jordan has planned 12 industrial cities, of which six are built. To strengthen the industrial city planning and construction, the Jordan Industrial Estates Company (JIEC) was established to take charge of industrial city planning management and the Industrial Zones Law was promulgated in 2008. The Jordanian industrial cities have developed rapidly, with an average annual growth rate of about 10%. Among them, Hussein Bin Abdullah Industrial City in Karak takes the lead, but the development level varies widely. By 2018, the Jordanian industrial cities had gathered 870 industrial enterprises, created about 57,000 jobs, of which female employees accounted for 49% and foreign employees for 59%, attracted an investment of 2,824 billion JOD, and created an exporting foreign exchange of 1,406 billion JOD (see Figure 9).

 

Figure 9 The development achievements of the Jordanian industrial cities

 

3.I ndustrial city development in the Middle East Arab countries under the BRI

3.1 BRI and the Middle East Arab countries

In 2013, President Xi Jinping put forward in succession the initiative of jointly building the “Silk Road Economic Belt” and the “21st Century Maritime Silk Road” and released the Vision and Actions on Jointly Building Silk Road Economic Belt and 21st Century Maritime Silk Road in 2015. In this paper, the Middle East Arab countries include the UAE, Oman, Kuwait and other 16 countries. Among them, Turkey, Egypt, Iran, Saudi Arabia, and Yemen are classified as large country as their population size and land area exceeds the average of the region. The UAE, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, Cyprus, and Saudi Arabia are classified as regional economic power, as their GDP per capita exceeds the regional average. Saudi Arabia is the only comprehensive power ofthe region. Being rich in oil, having water shortage, and being unstable politically are general key features of the Middle East Arab countries, which directly affect the economic development of the region and the world, as well as the implementation of the BRI.

 

3.2 New trends of international industrial capacity cooperation between China and the Middle East Arab countries under the BRI

According to the Belt and Road Initiative: Report on Five Connective Index produced by the Belt and Road Five Connective Index Research Group of Peking University (2017), the average value of the five-connective index between China and the Middle East Arab countries are 25.88, which indicates a great potential for further development. Under the BRI, the two parties are witnessing a trend of increasingly improving investment and international industrial capacity cooperation. As of April 2019, 81% of the Middle East Arab countries have signed a cooperation agreement with China under the BRI. In 2017, China’s direct investment stock in the Middle East Arab countries were 22.39 billion US dollars, which doubled the amount in 2013, the year when the BRI was proposed. Industrial development is a key cooperation between China and the Middle East Arab countries. In 2016 when President Xi Jinping visited the region, the two parties put industrial capacity cooperation on the top agenda by announcing the joint establishment of a 55 billion US dollar fund for industrial capacity cooperation and a special industrialization loan of 15 billion US dollars for purpose of supporting the re-industrialization of the Middle East Arab countries.

 

At present, there are 14 Chinese overseas industrial parks planned or built in the Middle East Arab countries (see Table 1), accounting for 13% of the total Chinese overseas industrial parks. Their planned area mounts up to 134.77 km2, with an average of 10.37 km2. Various types of industrial parks include economic and trading cooperation park, resource and processing park, energy andresource utilization park, business and trade city, comprehensive industrial park, sci-tech park, and so on. The planned industrial sectors are based on the prominent characteristics of the region. There are the sector of energy andresource processing and utilization of oil, gas, mineral, and so on in view of raw materials, such as chemical, steelmaking, and building material industries; the sector of manufacturing of the means of production and livelihood in view of market, such as automobile manufacturing, textile manufacturing, and biomedicine industries; and the sector of modern service, such as logistics, finance, technology, and so forth. These industrial parks are mainly distributed in the coastal areas, at the land transportation nodes, and in national-level industrial cities or special economic zones. Among them, the China-Egypt Suez Economic and Trading Cooperation Zone and the China-Arab Capacity Cooperation Demonstration Park have already seen remarkable achievements to be anational-level park.


Table 1 Chinese overseas industrial parks in the Middle East Arab countries

 

Note: Based on Shi and Wang, 2019; Xu, Dieter, and Wang, 2018. 

 

3.3 New changes of industrial city development in the Middle East Arab countries under the BRI

The BRI and the international industrial capacity cooperation have become important external driving forces for the planning and construction of the Middle EastA rab countries’ industrial cities, bringing them with development acceleration, spatial expansion, quantitative augmentation, and momentum increment. Firstly, the Chinese industrial parks are settled within industrial cities, helping toenhance the driving force to the industrialization and urbanization of the region. The China-UAE Industrial Capacity Cooperation Demonstration Park in the Abu Dhabi Industrial City, China-Egypt Suez Economic and Trading Cooperation Zone in the Suez Industrial City, China-Egypt Mankai Textile Industrial Park in the Sadat Industrial City, and Saudi Jeddah Chinatown in the Jeddah Industrial City all have promoted the in situ employment, the industry-population coordination and concentration, and the coordinated development of industrialization and urbanization (Shi and Wang, 2019; Xu, Dieter, and Wang,2018). Secondly, the Chinese industrial park operators participate in the operationand investment promotion of the industrial cities, helping to promote the application of China’s development concepts and management systems into the Middle East Arab countries’ industrial city development, such as the one billion US dollar investment agreement between TEDA Group and the 3rd Dammam Industrial City. Thirdly, China-funded enterprises are settled in the industrial cities, helping to increase China’s direct investment and collaborations in economy, trade, and labor service, such as the joint venture between CHINT and EGEMAC (Egyptian German Electrical Manufacturing Co.) specializing in low-voltage switch gear manufacturing and Shenzhen Clou Electronics Co., Ltd. settled in the 6th October City in Egypt, and the New Hope Liuhe Co., Ltd. settled in the Sadat Industrial City. Fourthly, China participates in the infrastructure construction of the industrial cities with its advanced construction technology and rich construction experience, facilitating the construction of the industrial cities, while helping to expand the scope and area of China’s infrastructure project contracting services, such as China COSCO Shipping Corporation Limited participating in the construction of the port of Abu Dhabi Industrial City. Fifthly, China’s planning and design practitioners are engaged in the consultation for the planning and design of the Middle East Arab countries’ industrial city development, such as China Academy of Urban Planning and Design taking the lead in the planning consultation for Kuwait Silk Factory and the northern five islands.

 

4. Industrial city planning in the Middle East Arab countries under the BRI

4.1 Planning management

For industrial cities, most Middle East Arab countries have formulated industrial city development plans, which are mostly master plans, otherwise including a layout plan, conceptual plan, or detailed plan. Some countries like Saudi Arabia, Syria, Qatar, Jordan, and Bahrain have set up state-level management agencies to be specifically in charge of the industrial city planning, while inother countries it is integrated into the competency of the investment management agencies. Some countries like Saudi Arabia, Syria, Qatar, Jordan, Lebanon, and Iraq have promulgated and implemented special regulations on industrial city planning and construction, while in other countries it is regulated by relevant laws such as investment law (see Table 2).


Table 2 Planning compilation, management agencies, laws and regulations forindustrial cities in the Middle East Arab countries

 

 

4.2 Planning features

The planning of industrial city in the Middle East Arab countries practices the basic principles and technical methods of the Western industrial city planning theory, but it is not a complete copy of the Western model due to the combined influences of natural conditions, social environment, cultural traditions, legal systems, and other factors. It is a regional adaptation characterized by the following features:

  The industrial city plans locate the industrial cities either along coasts, rivers, and main transportation lines or nearby the capitals and close to either raw material or consumption areas to enjoy a superior geographical location and convenient transportation. For example, in Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and the UAE, the industrial cities are mostly located in the coastal areas. In Syria, they are mainly distributed along the Aleppo-Damascus development axis, while the Deir ez-Zur Industrial City is located in Euphrates River Basin, and a new Umm az Zaytun industrial city in the southern region. Also, the government planned to establish other industrial areas based on regional resources. In Egypt, both the 6th October City, one of the largest industrial zones of Egypt, and the 10th of Ramadan City, one of the most industrialized areas of Egypt, are close to the capital city of Cairo. The Al Ain Industrial City of the UAE is located in the Al Ain Agricultural Area for the proximity to agricultural products, while the Ras Laffan Industrial City of Qatar is even built based on an oil base.

  The industrial cities are developed by zones according to a master plan, with each zone being specialized in a professional production and collaborating with others. For example, the Dubai Industrial City is divided into six zones specialized respectively in food and beverages (zone 1), transportation equipment and parts manufacturing (zone 2), machinery and equipment manufacturing (zone 3), mineral product processing (zone 4), healthcare industry (zone 5), and chemical manufacturing (zone 6).

  The industrial cities strictly abide by the principle of functional zoning, with due attention to the management and control of industrial and residential areas. Residential and commercial buildings are strictly prohibited on industrial land and residential areas are kept far from polluting industrial lands, such as those for metal and plastics production.

The industrial cities are planned in accordance with local conditions to form a suitable industrial system. For example, according to the word frequency statistics, among the planned industrial sectors for the 36 industrial cities of Saudi Arabia, building materials, food, rubber, non-ferrous metals, furniture, medicine, chemicals, and beverages, etc. are repeated over 20 times, with a total recurrence rate of more than 50%. It implies that these industrial cities make full use of the advantages of the local natural resource endowment and well meet the local production and livelihood needs.

  Due attention is paid to the affiliated industries and facilities of the industrial cities. Focusing on the production requirements of the manufacturing sector, productive services, such aslogistics, science and technology, finance, and conferences and exhibitions, are developed and social amenity like commercial complex, residential buildings, medical centers, and education institutes are also planned.

Due attention is also paid to the comprehensive utilization of resources and the protection of the ecological environment. Circular economy and wastes control are incorporated into the industrial city plans and policies, and regulations on preventing environmental pollution and protecting ecological environment are also formulated.

 

China has seen a vigorous development of various industrial parks in the 40 years after the reform and opening-up. With the implementation of the BRI and the international industrial capacity cooperation strategy, Chinese overseas industrial parks are cooperating with the industrial cities, free trade zones, and industrial zones in the Middle East Arab countries. In view of the success of China’s industrial parks over years in terms of high-quality planning andd evelopment, its experience of industry-city integration, smart parks, green parks, industrial ecology, innovative communities, featured towns, and mixed functions, etc. can serve as useful reference for the Middle East Arab countries.

 

5. Suggestion

Although the industrial city planning of the Middle East Arab countries makes reference to the Western industrial city planning theory, it is not a complete copy of the Western model, but a regional adaption. The industrial cities are mainly distributed along the coasts and rivers, and at the land transportation hubs as well, undergoing remarkable development. Together with industrial parks and free trade zones, they optimize the economic geography of the Middle East Arab countries and form a multi-leveled carrier system for regional industrialization. As the Middle East Arab countries further implement the economic diversification strategy, they will become a key physical carrier for coordinated development of industrialization and urbanization. Meanwhile, the BRI and the international industrial capacity cooperation strategy add a strong momentum to industrial city development in the Middle East Arab countries, promoting development acceleration, spatial expansion, quantitative augmentation, and momentum increment. In the context of “high level opening-up”and “high quality development,” the cultivation of new “Silk Road poststations” based on the cooperation between the industrial cities in the Middle East Arab countries and China’s Overseas International Cooperation Parks, will help further promote the energy-industry cooperation between China and theMiddle East Arab countries, build a mechanism for China to transfer itscompetitive manufacturing capacity to the Middle East Arab countries for purpose of promoting two-way collaborative innovation and achievement sharing, and speed up mutual recognition of standards and technology systems, etc.

 

For participating in the industrial city planning practice in the Middle East Arab countries, China is facing challenges at both the macro and micro levels. Atthe macro level, it includes the lack of a top-level design and collaboration mechanism for China-Middle East Arab countries industrial capacity cooperation, the insufficient interaction between the Middle East Arab countries’ industrial cities and Chinese overseas industrial parks, and so on. At the micro level, it includes the lagging infrastructure construction, inadequate industry volume, unsound business environment, and insufficient development momentum of the industrial cities, as well as the lagging concept and ineffective implementation of industrial city planning. To deal with these challenges, this paper proposes the following suggestions.

 

Multiple measures should be taken to promote the mutual learning between China and the Middle East Arab countries about the planning technologies of industrial city development. The industrial city planning specifications and regulations should be translated, the planning system and regulatory requirements should be introduced, and planning research should be conducted, so as to promote mutual recognition of norms. Academic seminars should be organized in series on China-Middle East Arab countries’ industrial city planning technology and standards. Friendship or sisterhood should be encouraged between famous Chinese industrial cities and typical Middle East Arab countries’ industrial cities, as well as between famous Chinese development zones and industrial zones in the Middle East Arab countries, such as between Suzhou Industrial Park and Khalifa Industrial Zone, Tianjin Economic and Technological Development Zone and Suez Industrial City, etc., so as to establish a two-way interactive international industry transfer and undertaking mechanism. A China-Middle East Arab countries industrial technology transfer and standardization center should be planned and built so as to carry out business activities, such as the conferences and exhibitions of advanced technology and applicable industrial technology and standard, so as to promote the transferand application of Chinese industrial technology and standards into the Middle East Arab countries’ industrial cities. A China-Middle East Arab countries collaborative innovation center should be built up to work on the establishment of innovation policy interaction mechanism and innovation resource sharing mechanism, so as to integrate information, achievements, talents, cooperation, and other innovation elements to enhance the innovation capacity of the Middle East Arab countries’ industrial cities.

 

Cooperation patterns should be diversified to innovate the international industrial capacity transfer and cooperation mode between Chinese and the Middle East Arab countries in the field of industrial city planning and development. In terms of development mode, China can participate directly in the planning and construction of infrastructure and energy projects in the Middle East Arab countries’industrial cities. A typical example is the “Angola Mode” which can besummarized as a plan of swapping energy resources for infrastructure construction. According to the plan, China is allowed to build overseas energyand mineral resource development bases and processing and refining centers in the Angolan industrial cities to promote the cooperation on energy industrial technologies and expand the energy and mineral resource-based industrial chain. The mode is also applied to China’s involvement in the reconstruction of Syrian industrial cities like Aleppo. In terms of operation mode, China can participate directly in the development and management of the Middle East Arab countries’ industrial cities or their parks, such as the China-Egypt Mankai Textile Industrial Park in the Sadat IndustrialC ity and China-UAE Industrial Capacity Cooperation Demonstration Zone in the Abu Dhabi Industrial City, so as to develop a China-Middle East Arab countries international industrial capacity cooperation transfer and undertaking system,strengthen the endogenous power of the Middle East Arab countries’ industrial cities, and enhance the self-sustained development capability of the manufacturing industry in the Middle East Arab countries. In terms of the smart service mode, China can provide Middle East Arab countries industrial cities with services for planning consultation, management and operation, and investmentpromotion, etc., like the case at China-Egypt Suez Economic and Trade Cooperation Zone in Egypt’s Suez Industrial City, China-Saudi TEDA Industrial Park in Saudi Arabia’s Dammam 3rd Industrial City, and China Sic-Tech Free Trade Industrial Park in Kuwait’s Silk City.

 

Multi-dimensionalcoordination should be promoted to encourage the interactive and coordinated development of Chinese overseas industrial parks and the Middle East Arab countries’ industrial cities. In terms of planning coordination, Chinese overseas industrial parks should be coordinated and connected with industrial cities in the Middle East Arab countries. In terms of space coordination, Chinese overseas industrial parks should be built within the Middle East Arab countries’ industry cities, like the China-Syria Industrial Park located in Aleppo Industrial City. In terms of industrial coordination, the leading industries of Chinese overseas industrial parks should differ from those of the neighboring Middle East Arab countries’industrial cities. In terms of facility coordination, the transportation infrastructure and logistics transfer corridors between Chinese overseas industrial parks and industrial cities in the Middle East Arab countries should be well connected. In terms of policy coordination, Chinese overseas industrial parks and the Middle East Arab countries’ industrial cities should enjoy same preferential policies, like the case of Sino-Belarusian Industrial Park. 

 

 

(This paper is based on a presentation made on the Belt and Road Session of the 13th IACP Conference. Acknowledgement is given to Wang Hui, Zhang Qian, Tahermoghaye, Ma Zhishan, et al. for providing relevant information. The research is funded by the National Key Research and Development Plan ‘Research Cooperation and Exemplary Application in Planning of Overseas Industrial Parks’ (No. 2016YFE0201000) and the Introduction Plan of High-End Foreign Experts in 2019 “Comparison of Urbanization Model and Spatial Planning System in the Belt and Road Area (No. G20190010128): Responsible for the Study of Spatial Planning System in Southeast Asia.)

 

 

Translatedby Li Min

Proofreadby Liu Jian

 

Note:

Countries with the“artificially high industrialization include most energy- and resource-based Middle East Arab countries, such as Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and Oman, who include oil, natural gas, and mineral resource extraction into the secondaryindustry. In fact, their actual industrialization level is lower than the observed value. The “leaping” industrialization refers to that relying on the“petrodollar,” the Middle East Arab countries, especially those rich in oil, achieved leaps in the development stage from the industrialization stage to the advanced economy stage though they did not complete industrialization.

 

 

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Authors

Zhao Sidong, PhD, School of Architecture, Southeast University, Nanjing, P. R.China. Email: 454974341@qq.com 

 

Wang Xingping (corresponding author), Professor, Doctoral Supervisor, School of Architecture, Southeast University; Director of the Institute of Regional and Urban Development, Southeast University, Nanjing, P. R. China. Research area: regional and urban master planning, industrial planning, and urbanization. Email: wxpsx@seu.edu.cn

 

Qu Penghui, Postgraduate, School of Architecture, Southeast University, Nanjing, P. R. China.

 

Tarek Rahmoun, PhD, Lecturer at Faculty of Architectural Engineering, Department of Urban Planning and Environment, Tishreen University, Lattakia,  Syria.






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