The recent construction boom has led to new urban development dynamics in Gulf cities driven by real-estate speculations and large infrastructure investments. While in the past affordable housing for medium income migrants and their families was integrated within the fringes of old downtown areas and compound developments in the suburbs, recent investment patterns have led to an increasing challenge of these economically highly engaged social groups to find residences. In recent years, a newly emerging trend in the Gulf region has been the establishment of large scale mass housing projects as new dormitory settlements to address the growing demand for affordable housing. This paper presents an overview of current development patterns by exploring two major affordable housing projects and their impact on sustainability in Doha and Dubai This is undertaken by establishing a preliminary assessment framework that involves relevant sustainability parameters. The assessment reveals the major differences between both projects and their impact on environment, economy and society.