Roads as Tools for (Dis)connecting Cities and Neighbourhoods: a Socio-spatial Study of Abu Dhabi

in collaboration with Abu Dhabi University

LSE PI: Alexandra Gomes 
Co-PI: Dr Apostolos Kyriazis
Duration: September 2020 – January 2023

Suburban collector road in Shakhbout City, Abu Dhabi, as a car-centric boundary between the desert and the urban. Photo: Apostolos Kyriazis.

Road infrastructure has been essential to the rapid urban development of GCC cities. While it can be used to create opportunities for more sustainable urban lifestyles, it has often taken priority over urban planning, creating barriers to connectivity within cities, and promoting car dependency.

While literature on the topic exists, the different factors that have led to this trajectory of urban development across GCC cities is under-researched. With Abu Dhabi as example, this project contextualises the city's urban development and investigates the impact of road infrastructure on urban life. It analyses the integration of roads in urban planning processes, as well as the effect of existing road infrastructure on mobility and the environment. 

This project looks at existing and alternative design approaches that could help with the possible integration of new mobility services in the city, and aims to engage with international and local initiatives to understand local perspectives and draft recommendations for policymakers and relevant institutions.

This project forms part of the Academic Collaboration with Arab Universities Programme, funded by the Emirates Foundation.

Research Team


Alexandra Gomes | Principal Investigator 

Alexandra is a Research Officer at LSE Cities.


Dr Apostolos Kyriazis | Co-Principal Investigator

Apostolos is Assistant Professor of Architecture and Urbanism, Department of Architecture and Design, Abu Dhabi University.

Clémence Montagne-400x400

Dr Clémence Montagne | Consultant 

Clémence is an urban and transport researcher. 


Peter Schwinger | Consultant 

Peter Schwinger is a transport economist and planning consultant. 


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