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Insights How Riyadh plans to become one of the world's biggest city economies

The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (KSA) is in the midst of a period of economic and sustainability-led transformation. Prince Mohammad bin Salman Al-Saud (MBS) has announced a range of projects that are set to change the landscape of the country.

The investment being injected into the country is projected to build the foundations of a prosperous future for the nation, and the development of Riyadh is crucial to achieving success. Planning careers across KSA are booming in line with the nation’s ambitious plans.

Construction projects in Riyadh play a key role in Saudi Vision 2030 with plans underway to make Riyadh among the world's top 10 economic cities. The goal for Riyadh is to drive the city’s economic, industrial and tourism growth in the upcoming years.

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.

Here, we discuss the steps that Saudi Arabia is taking to transform Riyadh into one of the world’s biggest city economies.

Building a greener, more sustainable city 

Sustainability and reducing carbon emissions are key aspects of Riyadh’s future development, and the King Salman Park project, announced in 2019, is propelling the city towards a greener future.

The ground-breaking development is set to become the largest urban park in the world, offering a host of entertainment and activities for the city's residents and visitors. The park will cater to walking, cycling, and sustainable modes of public transportation. Adopting aspects of a circular built environment, Riyadh’s brand-new park will enhance total green areas and improve the biodiversity of the city. At present, King Salman Park is set to open sometime in 2024.

The Green Riyadh project

A core focus in Riyadh is the Green Riyadh project, one of the most ambitious urban forestation projects worldwide. 

Green Riyadh will focus on implementing more trees and plants throughout the city. Additionally, all of the greenery will be watered by recycled water from an intricate irrigation network, further reducing the city’s impact on the environment. The greening initiative will lead to improved air quality and reduced temperatures in the city and motivate Riyadh’s citizens to follow a healthy lifestyle which is key to the Kingdom’s 2030 Vision.

In June 2024, Green Riyadh commenced construction of three city parks in Riyadh that span an area of 550,000 square meters.

Enhancing Riyadh’s tourism 

Tourism growth is always important to developing a city and improving its economy, and KSA is focusing on a range of improvements to increase Riyadh’s attraction to visitors. 

One of the key improvements well underway is the transformation of Diriyah. Hailed as Saudi Arabia’s cultural capital, the historic town of Diriyah will present over 300 years of authentic culture and history by delivering unique heritage experiences and state-of-the-art residential living.

Diriyah’s transformation will contribute to enhancing the awareness of the Kingdom as a tourism and leisure destination by hosting world-class cultural and entertainment events to improve local and international footfall. Located just minutes away from Riyadh's city centre, the Diriyah Gate project is key to the development of the city’s economic profile. Openings of sites around Diriyah Gate will continue to launch annually until the project’s completion in 2030, with Bujairi Terrace opening in December 2022.

Improving public transport infrastructure - The Riyadh Metro Project 

Saudi Arabia’s infrastructure and built environment are expanding and rapidly becoming known for great career opportunities and innovative projects. 

Saudi Arabia has placed infrastructure at the centre of its 2030 Vision, and transport in Riyadh is high on the transformation agenda. 

The Riyadh Metro Project is a new rapid transit system that’s set to be completed in December 2024. This mega project will help ease traffic congestion in the capital of Saudi Arabia. The $22.5 billion project will include 84 stations, span 176 kilometres and over six metro lines, and is the second metro system in the entire country.

The Riyadh Metro runs purely on electricity which means that the project can make a highly positive impact on carbon emissions in the city. Riyadh’s new transport system represents just one of several ambitious infrastructure projects that will help Riyadh grasp its place at the top of the world economy.

Plan for a better tomorrow at AtkinsRéalis in Saudi Arabia

Here at AtkinsRéalis, 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.