" Urban Encroachment on Rain-Fed Agricultural Lands in Jordan during the Second Half of the 20th Century



The expansion of urbanization and agricultural lands during the second half of the 20th century within and around three urban districts (Irbid, Amman, and karak), is investigated using topographic maps, aerial photographs, satellite images, and GIS. Three periods were chosen to identify the spatial expansion of urbanization:1953, 1983, and 2000. topographic maps, aerial photographs, and landsat images were used to delineate the temporal urban expansion during the second half of the 20th century. Arc/View was used to create vector layers for each of the three periods. Results indicate that built-up area in these districts increased astronomically, with greatest expansion in Amman and Irbid. Built-up areas within and around the cities of Amman and Irbid increased by more than 20 and 30 times, respectively, during the second half of the twentieth century.

Demographic, political, economic, and legislative factors interacted to produce this rampant urban growth. During this period, the population of Jordan increased more than 11-fold. The low economic return of dry agricultural lands, along with substantial jump in land prices in and around urban centres, led to massive transformation of these agricultural lands into urban conglomerates> The absence of laws regulating land use, along with a lack vision and creativity among decision makers, has been a major problem in the rampant growth of urban areaspense of the nearby productive agricultural lands. The results presented here documents an example of the pattern of  urban development in the Middle East and, propably, in developing countries.