KSA’s Madinah to host 4-day international conference on ‘humanizing cities’

Madinah Gov. Prince Faisal bin Salman
Updated 24 April 2018
0

KSA’s Madinah to host 4-day international conference on ‘humanizing cities’

  • The conference will review global trends in the areas of “humanization of cities” and “living cities
  • The event is being organized by the Development Authority of Madinah

JEDDAH: The First International Conference on Humanizing Cities will take place from May 7 to 10 at Taibah University in Madinah.

The event is being organized by the Development Authority of Madinah, under the patronage of Prince Faisal bin Salman, governor of Madinah region and chairman of the Development Authority of Madinah.

The conference will review global trends in the areas of “humanization of cities” and “living cities,” looking at modern ways to develop public places, city centers and neighborhoods to improve urban spaces and the quality of urban life, so that cities are more friendly and comfortable places to live.

There will be discussions of the best ways to develop cities, and of the most suitable local and international mechanisms for doing so to most benefit residents. Ways to encourage various sectors and communities to get involved in the initiatives and humanization projects will also be examined.

There will be 20 panel discussions, including presentations, case studies and open debates on the humanization of cities. The participants will include 20 international experts in the planning and development of cities, public areas and open spaces, and 27 distinguished local experts in architecture, design, planning and urban development. The speakers come from 14 countries, including Saudi Arabia, the US, Canada, the Netherlands, the UK, Sweden, Germany, Greece, Singapore, Indonesia, Bahrain, UAE, Egypt and Jordan.

A number of experts and academics will take part, including: Dutch architect Rem Koolhaas, a professor at Harvard University Graduate School of Design; Charles Landry, a British planner known for his studies on creative cities; Joel Kotkin; Michael Mahaffey; Khoo Teng Chye, director of the Center for Liveable Cities in Singapore; Michael Sorkin, a professor at Columbia University in New York; Fred Kent, the founder and president of the Public Spaces Project; and Herbert Dreiseitl, director of The Liveable Cities Lab.

The conference will also feature senior officials from the Kingdom and other Gulf countries, and Saudi mayors. Directors of regional and international organizations working in the field will also take part and visit the Development Authority of Madinah to discuss the current state and future of moves to humanize cities.

Speakers will discuss a number of key themes, including the principles and practices of achieving human cities, a review of how best to manage them, and the role of local authorities, highlighting planning and design, and the part played by public areas and open spaces.

Other aspects covered by the conference include the financing and the transformation of cities to make them more suitable for all residents. The integration of environmental sustainability with humanization programs will also be discussed, as will the role of culture and education.

The conference will also present and discuss the experiences gained through the projects and initiatives that are part of the Humanization Madinah project carried out by Madinah Development Authority, which aims to make Madinah an example for the development of modern cities.

The conference is targeted at specialists in ministries and other government agencies and bodies, leaders of local administrations, and employees of non-profit organizations, private-sector institutions, universities and specialized research centers, along with other researchers and individuals interested in the field.


Interior Ministry is a pioneer in smart services: Saudi minister

More than 350 experts attended the cybersecutiry meeting in Jeddah on Tuesday. (AN photo by Huda Bashatah)
Updated 22 November 2018
0

Interior Ministry is a pioneer in smart services: Saudi minister

  • The ministry “is part of the country’s work system of cybersecurity”

Millions of local internet users are making the most of the Ministry of Interior’s smart service portal every day. Its digital transformation program experience will be a global example to follow.

This was stressed by Assistant Minister of Interior for Technology Affairs Prince Dr. Bandar bin Abdullah Al-Mishari Al-Saud, the chief guest at a cybersecurity meeting organized by the Jeddah branch of the American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS International) at the Ritz-Carlton on Tuesday, in collaboration with the General Secretariat of the Higher Commission for Industrial Security.

The ministry “is part of the country’s work system of cybersecurity, which has recently become an independent government entity. It is responsible for planning and supervising cybersecurity. Therefore, we fully cooperate with it. Thus, the ministry is keen to support all national platforms, particularly the national cybersecurity authority,” the minister said in the meeting, in which specialists from the National Cyber Security Center and the Communications and Information Technology Commission participated.

In a 30-minute speech, the prince addressed an audience of more than 350, stressing that the Ministry of Interior has been digitized from the start.

“The National Information Center (NIC) was established 40 years ago as the first information center in the Middle East. Digitization in the Ministry of Interior started at that time. The founding of the NIC synchronized with the establishment of King Saud University’s College of Computer and Information Sciences, as the first college of its kind in the region, as far as I know,” he said. The college was one of the few institutions in the world at that time, he said. The ministry and King Saud University collaborated to establish the College of Computer and Information Sciences.

Prince Bandar pointed out that data have become “a commodity, an industry, wealth. All forms of data, in fact, have become an integrated industry and a national treasure on all levels.” Data and information, if used properly, can make a big leap in our life. If neglected, he said, they will be a burden on societies.

He noted that the portal of the Saudi Ministry of Interior is a pioneer in the region in smart services and solutions, pointing out that the ministry’s platforms and initiatives are used by millions of users every day. “It has made outstanding achievements at all levels, including passports, traffic and other services,” he said. The prince stressed in his lecture that the Interior Ministry is a leader in adopting technology in nearly all the services it provides.

“The ministry started issuing entry/exit visas electronically in 2009. It also introduced the fingerprint system and the smart national ID cards in the same year. A year later, it introduced the Absher platform,” he said.

“Absher will soon launch a new service called ‘Absher Government’ which will provide governmental entities with the services they need. We will also add more services and technologies to the Absher platform to meet people’s needs and ease their lives,” the assistant minister said. They were thinking of making Absher a giant platform like Google, he said.

The use of electronic services and smart solutions is the backbone for future government, he said. “Any economic, developmental and social success will be through depending mainly on these elements. We, in Saudi Arabia, have made great advances in this regard, in a way that complies with the country’s Vision 2030. Our achievements in this field harmonize with the rapid increase in deploying technology and knowledge.” 

The leadership has a clear vision and ambitious goals that will put Saudi Arabia among the developed countries in the world.

Replying to an Arab News question about how we can successfully manage the unstoppable flow of applications that may damage our cultural identity or do harm to our social fabric, the assistant minister said clear legislation can help control information and preserve the right of information owners, and this what will soon happen after the national privacy system is issued.

The minister said the total population of Saudi Arabia exceeded 33.2 million. “More than 30.2 million use the internet and 25 million are active internet users, and 18 million of Saudis are active mobile users.”