Search type

Planning and Environmental Management

Hanan Abu Mahfouz

Previous education / experience

  • Master of Urban Planning (Design of Built Environment) – American University of Sharjah, UAE
  • Bachelor in Architectural Engineering – University of Sharjah, UAE

Thesis title

Towards sustainable industrial areas in the GCC countries.


Research details

Recently, environmental issues have become more complex and larger in scale and impact. The progress in dealing with large-scale environmental problems such as climate change has been slow and the easy environmental issues themselves are still far from resolved. Therefore, the environment continues to be a top priority at the international, national, and local levels.

Policies and strategies to deal with the global environmental issues remain a challenge for policymakers. Environmental Management (EM) has become one of the greatest challenges facing industrialized cities especially where economy is highly dependent on burning fossil fuels and energy consumption as in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries.

There is a broad consensus that the ultimate driver of the global environmental crisis is industrialization, which mean significant, systematic industrial change will be unavoidable if society is to eliminate the root causes of environmental damage. In addition, EM approaches are believed to be more effective and successful where people and industries are concentrated, which is the case of industrial areas. Therefore, industrial areas, instead of being segregated and avoided by the community, should be viewed as part of the solution to environmental problems.

The most common approach for EM is environmental regulations, which is often described as classical, outdated, and inefficient in addressing contemporary environmental challenges. This has resulted in the development of other approaches for EM that are less regulatory and more flexible and innovative such as Environmental Management Systems, Urban Regeneration, and Industrial Ecology. However, experience with these approaches in industrial areas are still limited, if not absent, in the GCC countries.

The research aims to understand the current experience with EM of industrial areas in the GCC countries and to identify the EM approach(s) that would prove more effective in achieving industrial sustainability. In doing so, the research will determine if the GCC countries can use the same EM approaches implemented in other parts of the world or if they need to establish their own approach(s) for EM that address the unique challenges of the region. Eventually, the research aims to develop a framework that will help governments and industries, within and beyond the GCC context, develop EM approach(s) that would work for them.

Research interests

  • Sustainable development
  • Environmental planning and management
  • Eco-industrial parks
  • Urban economics 
  • Transportation planning and analysis