Residential and neighborhood satisfaction in shantytowns of Riyadh city, Saudi Arabia: levels and determinants

Asharaf Abdul Salam


Shanty areas form due to population pressures jeopardizing jobs, income, and shelters. Such dwelling units are crowded, unhygienic, and have shortage of basic supplies, and unplanned road systems due mainly to the lack of legal approval. Consequently, it leads to discontent and unhappiness, as the residents struggle to meet both the ends – unstable occupations, low salaries, poor infrastructures, ill health, unsafe living conditions etc. This paper attempts to examine the levels of satisfaction of residents in such shanty areas in terms of neighborhood and home environments, to model the variables that influence their satisfaction. This study selected 430 head of households obtained through a stratified sampling method from seven shantytowns in Riyadh city. Surprisingly, residents are more or less satisfied with the neighborhood and the home environments (mean satisfaction of 3.05 and 3.07 respectively, on a five-point scale). However, some shantytowns had the advantage either in terms of homes or in neighborhoods, leading to differences in satisfaction levels. Conditions such as birthplace, working status, high income, long duration of stay, intentions to continue living in the shantytown and having public water supply significantly explain satisfaction with the neighborhood, especially in Al-Mursalat, Al-Jibs and An-Nahdha. Likewise, Saudi nationality, long duration of stay, and intentions to continue staying in Shantytown were the favorable conditions of homes at Al-Mursalat and Al-Jibs localities. This shows that satisfaction with a neighborhood has many conditions in and around – personal, public facility as well as the attachment with the place. However, that of the home has only a set of personal and attachment variables. This paper points out the relevant intervention programs in order to improve the living conditions and life satisfaction of the shantytown residents.


Neighborhood satisfaction, Home satisfaction, Saudi Arabia, Shantytowns, Migration

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