Covering about three million square kilometres, the Arabian Peninsula is a mainly a diverse landscape of hot humid sandy coasts, arid desert, sparse scrubland, stonestrewn plains, and lush oases, as well as rocky and sometimes fertile mountain highlands and valleys. In addition to the indigenous local populace, the population is composed of large groups of expatriate Arabs and Asians, in addition to smaller groups of Europeans and North Americans; these expatriate groups represent a major workforce community of skilled professionals and semi-skilled or unskilled labourers from over sixty countries. This chapter aims to analyse the contextual background of architecture and urbanism in the Arabian Peninsula while noting some of the unique factors that have helped produce the built environment of its major cities. The region’s contemporary economy, dominated by the production of oil and natural gas has created unprecedented wealth, which in turn has led to a momentous surge in intensive infrastructural development and the construction of new environments. The ensuing impact on the built environment, in conjunction with the continuous and seemingly frantic quest for establishing unique urban identities, is analysed and discussed in detail.