Housing inadequate for 30% of Saudis

Updated 22 March 2013
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Housing inadequate for 30% of Saudis

In opening remarks at the first session of the Jeddah Economic Forum (JEF), Abdullah Sadiq Dahlan, member of the JEF’s organizing committee and chairman of the board of trustees at the University of Business and Technology, warned of an imminent threat of a housing crisis exploding in the Kingdom over the coming years in the absence of realistic housing plans.
Dahlan said that 37 percent of Saudis do not own houses and pay rent, while 30 percent live in inadequate housing facilities. He also pointed out that the Kingdom is in need of 350 million sq meters to accommodate a growing population with 67 percent of the population currently searching for affordable housing.
According to statistics presented by Dahlan, 85 percent of the Saudi population lives in major cities such as Riyadh, Jeddah and Dammam, with Jeddah listed as the city with the highest population density.
Those who spoke in the first session were Joseph Danko, managing director of Urban Programs- CH2M Hill; Thai Ker Liu, director of RSP Architects Planners and Engineers in Singapore, and David Smith, founder of Affordable Housing Institute (AHI).
The specialists provided their insight regarding the characteristics and features of competitive cities in the 21st century, while addressing the key questions of how cities compete, how they attract capital and whether newly built cities compete better than existing cities.
In relaying Singapore’s successful experience in public housing, Liu highlighted that creating cities that stimulate economic growth and provide citizens with a high quality of living, should be the driving factors underlying urban planning. Liu said that 95 percent of the population in Singapore owns a house, an astounding figure given the high-density population of the island nation, which was a huge endeavor undertaken by the government over five decades.
Danko provided three key points that define competitive cities from his perspective, namely the need to embrace sustainable solutions in urban planning, accentuating the unique characteristics of a city and emphasizing a shared public realm.
He also underlined that urbanization has led to an unprecedented consumption of natural resources, which mandates a shift to sustainable economic solutions in development.
Smith reinforced the previous speakers’ comments regarding how successful urbanization is the driving force behind prosperous cities and affordable housing is what makes cities function properly.
“Urbanization is here already, cities that don’t plan their city landscapes will be met with unplanned urbanization,” he said.


King Salman receives outgoing Brazilian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia

King Salman receives outgoing Brazilian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Flavio Marega in Riyadh on Wednesday. SPA
Updated 44 min 11 sec ago
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King Salman receives outgoing Brazilian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia

  • The reception at the Yamamah Palace in Riyadh was attended by Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir

King Salman received on Wednesday outgoing Brazilian Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Flavio Marega. 

The ambassador paid farewell to the king on the occasion of the end of his term as an ambassador of his country to the Kingdom.

The reception at the Yamamah Palace in Riyadh was attended by Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir.

Later, King Salman received senior officials of the Ministry of Commerce and Investment, presidents of chambers of commerce, and a number of businessmen.

During the reception, the king stressed the important role of the private sector in achieving development goals in the Kingdom and raising the level of provided services.

The audience was attended by Minister of Commerce and Investment Dr. Majid bin Abdullah Al-Qassabi and Governor of Saudi Standards, Metrology and Quality Organization Saad bin Othman Al-Qasabi.