The research scope of Part II is a continuation of Part I and similar at core: a thorough examination of the sustainability issues of today’s urbanism through a multidisciplinary methodology. The main research question is: “How sustainable are today’s Gulf cities?” The general principles concern the analysis of the 10 cities of GSU Part I of the book, ensuring continuity of research and findings. This process entails the study, research, analysis, and demonstration of the development forces that defined the recent period of urbanization of the Gulf cities under study. The implementation does not start on “terra firma”, that would stand as an overdemanding task. On the contrary, the experience of Part I and the accumulated knowledge and the followed procedures can only assure the realization of the research of Part II within a meaningful time period. The same team that worked in Part I will build upon the lessons learned, the collected material, and the developed methodology in GSU Part I.

The main principles of research investigation concur with the ones of Part I: sustainability features in urbanism are studied with reference to predefined spatial entities along a time period, now indicated as  time present. Though in the present, new particular and critical qualities can be identified so that new challenges can be added to the study. It is important to highlight the significant difference in the size of the cities between the past and the present. The multiplicity of urban fabric and the relatively recent contemporary metropolitan character of most of the Gulf cities under examination imply new degrees of complexity and size. Next to the size issues lie those of temporality, which are also intensified in relation to Part I. Although the time framework of the present is shorter (1960s-70s up to 2012, i.e. 40-50 years) than the one of the past, the urban development patterns of the present are more dynamic than the steady and slow rates of change in the past. Thus, new quantitative and qualitative means may emerge in phase 2 and therefore bring the need for a modified approach.

One of the main aspects of Part II is the possible increased volume of the available information. During the field trips of Part I, it had been noticed that the information regarding the present conditions in the cities under investigation is abundant and readily available. This constitutes one of the major differences with Part I, where the lack of available information was the most critical issue that the research team had to confront. Such a fundamental shift in information availability implies a move from exploration to management of data. Still, it is important to consider that availability of data can vary across cities either due to the degree of detail or permission and confidentiality implications.

Similar to Part I, the research examines 10 cities across 8 countries of the Gulf region. Since we study the present, we do not need the “twin” or hinterland cities Al Ain and Hofuf. Geographically clockwise, the cities under study are:

• Oman: Muscat
• United Arab Emirates (UAE): Dubai and Abu Dhabi
• Saudi Arabia: Dammam
• Qatar: Doha
• Bahrain: Manama
• Kuwait: Kuwait City
• Iraq: Basrah
• Iran: Bandar Abbas and Bandar Lengeh