Some issues of regional development and planning in Libya
El-Babour, Mansour M.
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This thesis is primarily concerned with the issues of regional development as they relate to a classic problem of underdevelopment, namely, the dualism of the space economy. The reversal of regional imbalance becomes a complex problem because the polarizing process is historically conditioned and is deeply ingrained into the structural economy. Accordingly, the present study of regional development in Libya started with a historical analysis of the space economy. Understanding of the historical evolution of regional economic relations is essential for the contemporary purposes of formulating development plans for modern Libya. Against a painful background of poverty resulting from historical influences and geographical constraints, the Libyan economy has experienced the "oil boom" of the Sixties. Since then, Libya has been characterized by a large capital surplus, as it became one of the major oil producing and exporting nations of the world. However, despite the abundance of capital the economy still reflects the classic structural traits of underdevelopment, i.e., sectoral imbalance and overdependence on a single product. While the oil industry has been developed extensively, other sectors of the economy remained comparatively less developed. In addition to that, the new oil wealth initiated the following problems: 1) the extension of a modern market economy into the traditional subsistence economy, disrupting the life-styles and the population base of the latter; 2) a widening gap between the rapidly growing modern cities and the stagnation or slow growth in rural areas; and 3) increased rural-to-urban migration. Given the fact that oil is an extractive economy of a nonrenewable resource, this research stresses the need for regional population policies that would link the exploitation of oil with areally dispersed industrial and agricultural activities. In this respect, population data from 1954 to 1973 were analyzed in order to identify the growing and declining regions. This analysis was supplemented by a spatial analysis of hierarchical service-centers in order to identify the gaps in space and in the hierarchical order. The results of this investigation were used to suggest a settlement policy for northeastern Libya.
Thesis (M.A.)--Boston University
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