Migration, Urban Commodification and the “Right to the City” in the GCC
Discussion of migration in the GCC has traditionally exclusively focused on labour. This paper focuses on other dimensions of migration which have started emerging over the first decade of the 21st century in the Gulf Arab States. These other aspects of migration will be highlighted through the lens of “international mega-real estate projects” (IMREPs). I will argue that these newly emergent mega real estate projects highlight a marked shift in citizen-state-expatriates dynamics within the region. This is evident in two central ways. Firstly, expatriates are not only workers and source of man power, but increasingly they are also consumers, investors, owners of property and users of the urban space – indeed persons involved in diverse activities which I summarize using the phrase “agents that animate the city”. Secondly, such mega-real estate projects point to an underlying vision that has been guiding the establishment and development of the cities under consideration, which I term derooted urbanism.