Academic journal article Journal of Sustainable Development

Evaluating the Urban Sustainable Development on the Basis of AHP: A Case Study for Riyadh City

Academic journal article Journal of Sustainable Development

Evaluating the Urban Sustainable Development on the Basis of AHP: A Case Study for Riyadh City

Article excerpt


This study aimed to evaluate the urban sustainable development for Riyadh city on the basis of the analytic hierarchy process (AHP). This process is very important to the future development of the urban areas. In order to achieve this goal, indicators of sustainability were defined according to the urban level; and then categorized into three indexes (level of development, development coordination extent, and development potential). The results indicated that the index of Development potential had the greatest priority in comparison with the other indexes.

Keywords: urban sustainable development, analytic hierarchy process AHP, assessment indexes, Riyadh City

1. Introduction

Increasingly, the world is becoming an urban area. According to Schell and Ulijaszek (1999) and Alpopi, Manole, & Colesca (2011), approximately 65% of the world's population is expected to live in cities by 2025. Hence, this reflects the importance of the urban sustainable development. Furthermore, the development of social, economic and environmental aspects of urban systems reflects the level of urban sustainable development (Hai-yang, Hai-yang & fang, 2009; Thinh et al., 2002; Kondyli, 2010). The concept of sustainable development was defined by the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) as "development that meets the needs of the present, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs" (WCED, 1987).

Measuring the sustainability in civilized areas, which are critical engines for practicing the local socioeconomic activities, become an outstanding challenge for the environmental managers and decision-makers (Moussiopoulos et al., 2010; Li et al., 2009). The idea of sustainable development was formulated in order to meet the growing understanding regarding the several strategic relationships between the different urban processes such as the social and economic development; global, regional and local environmental problems; the increase in population and urbanized built-up areas (Malkina-Pykh, 2002; Alpopi, Manole, & Colesca, 2011).

The analytic hierarchy process (AHP) has the non-structural advantage as a multi-criteria judgment method, which is actually valid for evaluating the urban sustainable development. The AHP model combines both subjective and objective assessments in the form of combination weight based on ratio scales derived from simple pairwise comparisons. However, this model requires three steps: structuring the hierarchy, conducting pairwise comparisons so as to define priorities, and gathering the priorities related to the decision's alternatives or options (Schoner & Wedley, 1989; Stam, & Silva, 2003).

Cities are construction systems restricted by various social, systematic and environmental factors, with countless conflicts and interactions underlying these factors (Ma & Wang, 1984; Li et al., 2009; Kondyli, 2010). However, the High Commission for the development of Riyadh city, stemming from its strategy that aims to modify the services provided for the Built-up area, has established an integrated coordinating program for providing public services within the municipality of Riyadh. Of course the program aims to provide general services and fill out the existed inefficiencies. In addition, the program aims to define the timeline required for providing the public services within the city alongside with creating a modern database that involves the entire public services in terms of their locations and the owned and planed lands relying on the geographic information systems. This in turn represents a supportive tool for the relevant decision makers (Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Projects, 2000). Thus, the evaluation of urban sustainable development indicates a very significant clue to the future development of Riyadh City.

2. Methodology

This study adopted an analytical, descriptive method by using the analytic hierarchy process (AHP). …

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