The citadel town of Erbil (circa 6000 BC), capital of the Kurdish Regional Authority, straddles Iraq’s western desert and foothills of the Kurdistan. Outside the municipal limits the landscap is typically rural, hilly with small impoverished villages that subsist on arable, rain-fed farming and herding. A network of larger and smaller watercourses traverse the site.
The Erbil Inner Greenbelt was proposed to contain urban sprawl and unregulated urban development, improve the urban microclimate and serve as an amenity landscape for the one million urban inhabitants. Working with an interdisciplinary team of planers, hydrologists and engineers, an ecological landscape planning methodology was applied to secure a holistic reading of the site and develop a master plan that is community inclusive, environmentally sustainable and economically feasible.
The multifunctional landscape for the Erbil Greenbelt includes: a productive zone of environmentally sustainable agriculture, mainly fruit tree cultivation; a nature conservation zone with wooded areas and pastoral lands; northern and southern greenways that ensure ecological and social connectivity; a predominantly amenity zone that includes the landscape of ring road 8 and three gateway parks.