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Insights Urban planning in Saudi Arabia

Economic, environmental, and social challenges are enforcing changes upon the world.

Climate change, digitalization, and population growth are amongst some of the trends that are contributing to a shift in norms, and in the Middle East, there is a transformation underway. Governments are implementing new plans to enable more sustainability and inclusivity for future generations. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA), for example, have launched Saudi Vision 2030, a strategy intended to develop and diversify the economy and reduce oil- dependency.

With AtkinsRéalis ’s growing presence in the Middle East, we are in a strong position to lead the way towards a more sustainable future. Urban development is one of our key areas, and we create bright futures for communities through the cities we develop. We’ve positioned ourselves to be a preferred partner for engineering and design solutions in Saudi Arabia, as urban planning comes to the fore with megacities like NEOM on the rise.

What is urban planning?

Urban planning is the term used to describe the designing and development of towns and cities. Those who work in urban planning play a key role in establishing safer, more sustainable, and thriving locations for communities to live. Jobs related to urban planning include landscape architecture, town planning, transport planning, and urban design.

The concept of urban planning is becoming increasingly prevalent around the world as we look for new and improved ways to live. In Hong Kong, for example, one of the most densely populated cities in the world, architects are using urban design to promote good mental health. With most people in Hong Kong living in tower blocks, urban designers must focus on finding solutions that will ensure liveability for current residents and future generations by building structures that are sustainable and deliver a positive psychological impact.

Urban planning in Saudi Arabia

Saudi Vision 2030 is an ambitious roadmap of swift expansion for all sectors in the built environment in Saudi Arabia, particularly urban planning. Mohammed Bin Salman (MBS), Saudi Arabia’s Crown Prince has set out his intentions to create a more vibrant society, a thriving economy, and an ambitious nation. Strategic objectives have been launched which, when achieved, will ultimately ‘improve the quality of life of residents and visitors… by developing the necessary environment to create more vibrant options that enhance the participation and experience of citizens and residents.’ Urban planners will increasingly be in demand in KSA to deliver this unparalleled expansion agenda through the Crown Prince’s Vision Realization Programs.

Purva Jamade is a Senior Urban Designer in the Middle East. She is largely responsible for leading the design process for master planning projects of varied scales and typologies involving multidisciplinary teams. In her role, she manages and delivers master plans from vision to concept to detail design compliant with project opportunities and constraints, client’s vision, global best practices, and local norms. Urban designers like Purva are contributing towards a better future for KSA.

The rise of NEOM

NEOM is unlike anything you’ll have heard of or seen before. It is a transformation program the size of Belgium in the northwest of Saudi Arabia, and it will revolutionize the Middle East. NEOM is described as ‘a new vision of what the future could be, an attempt to do something that’s never been done before and it’s coming at a time when the world needs fresh thinking and new solutions.’

As part of Vision 2030, NEOM is a step away from a predominantly crude oil-focused economy and a giant leap towards a new model for sustainable development. As a completely net-zero carbon emissions ‘country within a country’, NEOM will have its own laws and regulations and will promote state of the art facilities and autonomous mobility solutions powered by 100% clean energy.

Plan for a better tomorrow at AtkinsRéalis in Saudi Arabia

For over 50 years, we’ve been advising, designing, engineering, and managing projects in the Middle East for both the public and private sectors, making a real difference for generations to come. In Saudi Arabia, we’re looking for innovative, like-minded people with growth mindsets to help us continue futureproofing the environment with a sustainable plan for a better tomorrow.

If you’re looking to develop your career on projects at scale, look no further than AtkinsRéalis in KSA. We’re combining creative genius with innovation and technology to provide digital solutions for a better planet. Browse our available architecture and planning roles in the Middle East today and bring your visions to life.