University of Leicester
2018ALHARBIHANPhD.pdf (11.49 MB)

Gentrification in the Central Zone of Medina, Saudi Arabia

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posted on 2018-07-03, 14:46 authored by Hanadi Abdullah K. Alharbi
The past fifty years have seen increasingly rapid advances in urbanization and development in Saudi Arabia. Medina is a Saudi city; it is the second most significant holy place after Mecca for all Muslims worldwide because it encompasses the Prophet’s Mosque and the grave of the prophet of Islam, Mohammed. The central research aim of the thesis is to examine whether that redevelopment that has taken place in Medina between the 1970s to 2000s should be viewed as gentrification. The central zone of Medina was identified as a case study for this research. Qualitative mixed-methods research involving structured interviews and content analysis of archival data were used to investigate redevelopments in the central zone of Medina. A semi-structured interview was conducted with elite interviewees - officials and developers - and the non-elite, who are the displaced residents of the central zone of Medina. The main findings of this study show that what has happened in central zone of Medina since the 1970s to the 2000s, when the redevelopment project was completed, constitutes new build gentrification. New build gentrification in the central zone of Medina is oriented towards tourism, as led by individual investors and real state dealers in the 1970s and 1980s and by the central state in the 1990s and 2000s. It was also shown that the touristic gentrification in new build form, which is also taking place in central Medina, has resulted in the full impact of displacement. This result has particular significance with respect to the global debates regarding gentrification research, in that gentrification in the Global South, including the Middle East, occurred simultaneously with that of the Global North. The findings and contributions of this thesis show that gentrified central Medina is a new story of gentrification coming from a Middle Eastern Islamic city in Global South, as different than Global north context due to a number of issues such as being the fastest-growing urbanization in the Global South, the type of political systems, decision-making mechanisms in governmental bodies, and the cultural and social structures of communities.



Phillips, Martin; Byron, Margaret

Date of award


Author affiliation

Department of Geography

Awarding institution

University of Leicester

Qualification level

  • Doctoral

Qualification name

  • PhD



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