Date of Graduation


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science in Geology (MS)

Degree Level





Mohamed Aly

Committee Member

Thomas Paradise

Second Committee Member

Gregory Dumond


fuzzy logic model, remote sensing, urban growth, urban development, urban expansion, flooding, urban sprawl, residential development, urban planning


Makkah – the third most populated city in Saudi Arabia with a population of 1,684,408 according to the 2010 demographic survey conducted by the Saudi General Authority for Statistics – is experiencing urban sprawl, which can be defined as an unplanned urban expansion that might degrade the environment and diminish the aesthetic view. This is a persisting problem in Makkah driven by multitude of processes involving the random expansion in its undeveloped land and the removal of its historic mountains surrounding Al-Masjid Al-Haram (the Holy Mosque) in an attempt to push the city limit of urban capacity within its administrative boundaries. These widespread practices allowed uncoordinated urban growth and dramatically changed the face of Makkah over years. This study employed remote sensing techniques to detect and assess land use changes occurred in Makkah city over the past 34 years (1984-2018), using data from Landsat 5, 7 and 8. Results depicted a rapid transition of non-urban to urban area of about 133.32 km2, which is about 12.82% of the total area. To assist the city planners and decision makers with the integrated urban development of Makkah, a fuzzy logic model was created and applied in this study. This model assigns weights between zero (fully excluded) and one (fully included) to continuous variables (raster cells) in fuzzy sets based on desirable criteria for integrated urban development. The modeling procedure incorporated proximity to the holy places, highways, drainage network, and existing urban centers, and considered protection to the green spaces and the aesthetically pleasing views of the landscape. The ultimate fuzzy overlay of the desired criteria was used to identify optimal places suitable for urban growth. These places were found mainly in the western, southwestern, and northern divisions of the city. Results from this research can help authorities cease the random urban growth in Makkah and can definitely support an informed urban expansion that avoids periodical flash floods and reduces congestion near the holy places.