Research Initiatives

Research Initiatives

The Evolution of Gulf Global Cities

This research initiative examines dynamics of urban configurations in the Gulf region (the GCC, Yemen, Iraq and Iran) to understand the city as a political, cultural and social space. By engaging with urban sociologists, social geographers, political scientists, city planners, and architects, this multi-disciplinary research project links macro-level knowledge of urbanization and modernization projects in the Gulf, with the micro-level understanding of everyday spaces of living and human interaction.

Glittering skylines, high urbanization rates, and massive development projects in the Gulf have increasingly attracted the attention of urban development scholars and practitioners. Within the GCC, an average of 88 percent of the total population live in cities, while on average only 56 percent of Yemen, Iraq, and Iran’s population live in urbanized spaces. The tempo and spatial ethos of urbanization in the Gulf differ markedly from patterns of traditional urbanism in other developing countries.

Background and Scope of the Project
  • Click here to read about "The Evolution of Gulf Global Cities" Working Group Meeting I
  • Click here to read about "The Evolution of Gulf Global Cities" Working Group Meeting II

As part of its Research and Scholarship initiatives, CIRS organizes several ongoing Working Groups that convene in Doha to examine a variety of international issues. The primary purpose of CIRS research initiatives is to fill in existing research gaps, and to contribute towards furthering knowledge on the prevailing issues related to security, economic stability, and the political realm of the region. Each of these projects involves some of the most prominent scholars of the Middle East and the Gulf region. Each scholar participating will be working on a specific sub-topic, under the overarching subject.

Working Group Meetings


Mehran Kamrava, ed., Gateways to the World: Port Cities in the Persian Gulf (Oxford University Press/Hurst, 2016). 

gateway"Gateways to the World: Port Cities in the Gulf," CIRS Summary Report no. 13 (Doha, Qatar: Center for International and Regional Studies, 2015).