RIYADH: Three international experts in the field of city planning took part in a Cities Talk event in Riyadh, during which they shared the lessons they have learned from their professional experiences and discussed the Kingdom’s development set out in Saudi Vision 2030 reform plan.
Saudi Minister of Commerce and Investment Majid Al-Qassabi, who is also the acting minister of municipal and rural affairs, hosted the gathering, which was organized by the ministry in collaboration with King Saud University. Abdulrahman Al-Fadhli, the minister of environment, water and agriculture, also took part.
Cities Talk is part of the activities for the Executive Master’s Program in Municipal Policies and Urban Development. It aims to promote communication and interaction between city leaders, so that participants can benefit from international experiences of managing cities and municipal services, and motivate leaders to embrace innovation and empowerment.
Dr. Abdullah Al-Thabit, the supervisor of the program, expressed his appreciation for the cooperation it receives from educational institutions and service sectors working to achieve the goals of municipal transformation.
Then the three experts, from the US and Austria, talked about ways in which cities can be transformed, and the Kingdom’s plans to do so.
Dr. Carl Weisbrod, a former chairman of the New York City Planning Commission and the founder of the New York City Economic Development Corp., described Saudi Vision 2030 as “one of the most ambitious visions in the world.”
Dr. Tom Murphy, the former mayor of Pittsburgh and a city-management adviser said: “The Saudis have a distinctive value and must benefit from the advantages available, using technology and innovation. They must work on new infrastructure in Saudi cities using young people’s ideas and creations, transforming them into emerging projects.”
Eugen Antalovski, the executive director of Vienna Municipality’s Urban Innovation Center, said: “Innovation, creativity, thinking, talent support and partnership between the public and private sector is crucial.”