Gazeta Riad | The Kingdom affirms its great interest in the quality of life of its cities and the urban cultural cultural character of its urban plans

The Kingdom affirms its great interest in the quality of life of its cities and the urban cultural cultural character of its urban plans

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has affirmed its commitment to the quality of life of its cities, the development of effective governance and the delivery of a local urban culture through the diversification of responsibilities and the promotion of new opportunities at the regional and local level, with the aim of committing an effective contribution to the transformation of the Kingdom and the attainment of its ambitious aspirations.

This came in the speech of the United Kingdom, during the high-level meeting of the United Nations General Assembly on the implementation of the new urban agenda, held by the Undersecretary of the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs and Housing for Urban Planning, Dr. bin Bakhit Al-Zahrani.

He explained that the Kingdom has practiced and adopted urban planning since the 1960s in cooperation with international houses of experts; To keep pace with the rapid urbanization witnessed by its various regions and cities, showing that this studied and intensive practice led to the establishment of major urban centers that enabled the absorption of population, services and infrastructure facilities, as happened and it is happening all over. countries of the world, as this rapid urbanization has brought some challenges in terms of transport and quality of life, housing, environment, etc.

He said: “In 2016, the Kingdom participated with a delegation led by His Excellency, the Minister of Communal and Rural Affairs at the Third United Nations Conference on Housing and Sustainable Urban Development (known as Habitat III), which was held in Ecuador, where many important initiatives taking place in the Kingdom during that period were presented and discussed. The delegation led international experiences to meet the challenges of cities and design their future, which will make them productive cities, conducive to well-being and achieving sustainability.

He noted that 2016 marked a different phase for urban development in the Kingdom, with the launch of the ambitious Kingdom Vision 2030, which set out important aspirations and perspectives for the country, while highlighting major public sector reforms . economy and society as a whole.

He stated that this trend includes diversifying the economy, expanding the culture and entertainment sector, opening up to tourism, benefiting from new technologies and empowering women and youth; Aiming to improve the quality of life of our citizens and all those who visit our country, residents and tourists, showing that this phase was not only transformative for the Kingdom, but for the whole world, as it coincided with sustainable development. development goals and the new urban agenda, and this random consensus allowed us to set important aspirations for the Kingdom and enabled us to design, design and adopt a roadmap to transform our towns and villages into interactive urban structures and life systems that promote shared values ​​of living, inclusion, sustainability and sustainability.

Dr. Al-Zahrani added, “It has been six years since the start of Vision 2030 and the adoption of the New Urban Agenda in Quito, Ecuador. Today, through our journey to achieve this pioneering vision, we think we have many success stories and lessons learned. that we can share with the world.

He pointed out that one of the main priorities of the Kingdom was the adoption of “new trends and principles of sustainable urban development” in the planning and design of its cities, as in different aspects, the structure and urban structure of Saudi cities are similar in worldwide with many cities that are designed for private car use, noting that however today efforts are being made to correct and develop this situation in terms of promoting the principles of sustainable urban development in all our urban interventions.

And he added: We also have another major priority to focus on “humanizing cities”, as the human element was previously a less prominent feature in the planning and design of Saudi cities, while today it has become an element essential and a guiding principle within the UK’s urban development initiatives.

He drew attention to the fact that, for example, important steps have been taken to restore unused and open public spaces in cities with the aim of promoting sports and recreation and improving the quality of public life for our citizens. The Green Riyadh project, which is part of the Saudi Green Initiative), aims to increase green spaces in urban areas from 1.5% to 9%, and plant 7.5 million trees on the roads by 2030.

In addition, the Riyadh sports track, which is nearing completion, will stretch 135 kilometers through the city and will consist of green pedestrian paths that will include a riding track and two main cycling paths, designed for it. meet the needs of riders of all abilities. , and this infrastructure connects each other with important parts From the city, this road will also include public art objects to add human and aesthetic elements to public spaces. Also, there is another initiative, which is the “Jeddah Downtown” project, which aims to take advantage of Jeddah’s strategic position and history as a gateway to the Red Sea and aims to reimagine it through pedestrian-friendly multi-purpose areas and functions, explaining that the goal here is to build on the competitive advantages of history, culture, and location in order to improve A thriving social scene is giving our cities a renewed sense of wonder.

He stressed that the project “NEOM” comes today to pave the way in this direction, as it is a bold and ambitious dream, which is the beginning of change that will embody the future of innovation in business, life and sustainability, showing that the Concept of NEOM is not limited to just the country, but is an intellectual orientation and a way of life. The design, construction and management of this model is based on an approach liberated from the limitations of outdated economic and environmental infrastructure methodologies. The project has been developed in line with best practices and new innovations promoting compact urban style, mixed uses and multimodal transport solutions.

He stressed that he was credited for being the practical laboratory in the Kingdom, where NEOM, from this broad perspective, provided an opportunity to launch Saudi creativity and the lessons learned at NEOM will be applied throughout the Kingdom.

Furthermore, it is expected to encourage major projects such as the newly built public transport system in Riyadh, which includes an integrated network of metro stations and buses and pedestrian sidewalks, in order to shift from reliance on private vehicles. in the use of multimodal public transport solutions.

Al-Zahrani noted that the public transport system will play a key role in reshaping the idea of ​​mobility within the city. It then modernizes the way people perceive home and work and the distances between them. The idea here is to design cities and neighborhoods that are efficient, compact, integrated and connected.

He reiterated that in this particular context, the Kingdom understands that current ambitions in the Kingdom will only be achieved through “effective governance and teamwork”, as the urban transformation we are seeing today is the result of joint efforts involving many stakeholders and Stakeholders in urban development in the Kingdom This includes ministries, government agencies and various levels of government (from national to local) in collaboration with civil society, the private sector and universities.

He added, “You will be able to follow this when you share the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s report on the implementation of the new urban agenda aimed at documenting the changes currently taking place across the Kingdom. This important report is being prepared as a result of a collective and participatory process through a diverse working group that includes stakeholders in urban development, from the national to the local level.

Dr. Al-Zahrani said, “The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has a vision and a roadmap for how our cities will be planned and managed during the 21st century. We also have a growing list of success stories, including policies, projects and projects, initiatives being implemented to promote transformation and make Saudi cities and villages more sustainable, healthier and more vibrant, expressing his hope that the Kingdom’s report on the implementation of the new urban agenda, as Habitat III will be a source of inspiration and new ideas for many countries to visualize, modernize and build a better urban future for all.

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