The urban environment is extremely complex, being the focus of human economic, social and political activity throughout the world. Any decision on its management can have a profound impact for millions. Hence, these decisions can be extremely challenging, often involving conflicting individual and collective interests. As a result, law plays a fundamental role in the management and development of the urban environment: It sets the rules for all interested actors to obey; it promotes accountability and provides the basis for stability and predictability in decisionmaking. Law is also one of the principal elements guaranteeing equality, providing the opportunity for the vulnerable and disadvantaged to be heard, considered and protected. Urban law, in this context, should be understood, not as a single text, but rather as an ecosystem, a collection of policies, laws, bylaws, decisions and practices that act, interact and evolve to cope with ever-changing circumstances
and govern the management and development of the urban environment.
This paper will look at urban planning in Syria in all its four main stages: land allocation, urban planning and design, implementation of the infrastructure and allotment as well as consider specific urban issues which will play a critical role in Syria’s reconstruction and sustainable development. The analysis of urban planning laws shall focus on their potential impacts on the most pressing challenges in Syria: displacement and population return, governance capacity and due process, recovery and investment environment, along with social and environmental concerns such as urban informality and sustainable natural resource management in reconstruction and rehabilitation.