Project: Kut City Master Plan, Wasit, Iraq

Client: Wasit Provincial Council

Collaborators: Iraqi Planners Group, Project undertaken by Howgill Planning Ltd, a GDL company for Iraqi projects


Kut is a city in south eastern Iraq, on the left bank of the Tigris River, about 100 kilometres south east of Baghdad and is the capital of Wasit province. In 2003 the estimated population was about 400,000 people projected to increase to over 750,000 by 2035. The heart of the city is located within a tight bend of the Tigris River which constrained its development.

Kut’s main role is as the regional, commercial and service centre for Wasit and the new plan was to accommodate its expected growth in the best way possible. The vision for Kut City provides a longer-term framework as well as a focus for immediate development.

We used new UN demographic data and the results of the recent Census of Buildings for the analysis and forecasting of population and employment growth. Such analysis revealed substantial changes over the last five years, showing the need for a flexible and sustainable approach to development prospects.

A review was undertaken of the prevailing urban planning hierarchy based on a community structure that was rarely realised.   Instead we advocated a return to the importance of the Neighbourhood, blending traditional Arab and contemporary urban models. Planning alternatives were prepared using constraints and opportunities mapping.  This was based on field surveys and identification of the various factors. A detailed assessment framework was compiled as a means of engaging with local interest groups and stakeholders.  It was used to help select a preferred growth option for elaboration into the final master plan.

We prepared three substantial volumes for the Master Plan: Policies and Proposals; Detailed Studies; and Zoning Regulations. In addition, we submitted a full set of display sheets consisting of thematic maps and detailed proposals and a comprehensive GIS database to aid implementation.


Project: Duqm Town Master Plan, Al Wusta Region, Oman

Client: Supreme Committee for Town Planning

Collaborators: Conser Engineering Consultants


We were commissioned with Conser to prepare a master plan for the new town of Duqm in Al Wusta Region.  This is to be built in response to the construction of a port and dry dock complex at Duqm in order to extend regional development to this presently small and remote part of the Sultanate.

Our work consisted of contextual studies for the new town and then the appropriate urban design framework. We undertook demographic studies and population forecasting, as well as appraisals of existing conditions, constraints and opportunities and visual and landscape analysis. These helped inform the study of planning alternatives and the selection of the preferred option. 

Our work was guided by a detailed ‘Vision’ statement which set out what the town would be like in 20 years’ time. The new town is expected to grow to around 65,000 persons and provide a new focus for the region.  We prepared detailed site plans for the first phase of priority development including land allocation documentation and set out the various plots on site.

We used GIS techniques to analyse the site and its surroundings and to provide a base for 3-D visualizations of our proposals.  The resulting GIS model will provide the foundation for guiding development of the town and for land allocations in the future.