Until relatively recently, the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), a regional intergovernmental political and economic union consisting of the Arab states of the Arabian Gulf (Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE), was predominantly a nonurban region. Most of its inhabitants were nomadic Bedouins who were constantly traveling in search of scarce water resources, traders who were always between destinations, and a smaller number of agriculturalists and fishermen. A small minority constructed and occupied several residential agglomerations, compact and confined, consistent with the limited economic and social needs of people at that time. This trend remained true until the 1950s, when larger social, economic, and political shifts dramatically and permanently changed the landscape of the region. The major trigger was the exploration of oil, leading to economic wealth, in addition to other factors, including globalization, aspirations for modernity, and technological advancements, especially those enabling water provision. In the context of a harsh natural setting, this meant that urbanity would become the new favored form of living. What followed was rapid urbanization, mostly machine-like, with little regard for humans living in the newly formed cities. In Saudi Arabia, for example, urban residents made up only 10 percent of the total population in 1950. By 2005, this figure skyrocketed to 85 percent (Figure 1). The present-day urban scene in the Gulf is globally unique in many respects. Not only did the process of city building occur in a short period of time, but the intensity and scale have been largely unprecedented. About 80 percent of the region's population now lives in urban areas, making the Gulf one of the most urbanized regions in the world. In Kuwait, for example, 99 percent of the population occupies only 8 percent of the country's land area. In Qatar, the capital city of Doha alone is home to about 55 percent of the country's total population. The physical characteristics of this urbanism are also unique. It resulted in an urban form mostly characterized by suburban-like downtowns and low densities in expanding territories.