Green Riyadh to improve quality of life in Saudi capital
For those who enjoy walking in London, I am sure the biggest motivation is the availability of public parks across the city. These parks are the “lungs” of London and are, in my opinion, the most important tourist attraction.
When I was living there during the 1990s, I used to walk to work across Hyde Park every day. Not only it was great cardiovascular exercise, but it was also an opportunity to take some fresh air. During the current coronavirus pandemic crisis with alerts to avoid crowded places, including public transport, people may shift to cycling to work through the parks as practical alternative.
Back home, Riyadh will soon enjoy similar facilities. The government is planning to build the “world’s biggest park,” creating large green parks and areas in the capital. The plan consists of four projects: King Salman Park, Sports Boulevard, Green Riyadh and Riyadh Art. These projects will complement the Saudi Vision 2030’s “Quality of Life” program and are aligned with the UN development goals to create sustainable cities and communities.
As one of the world’s largest urban greening projects, Green Riyadh will increase the per capita amount of green space in the city and augment the green cover in the Saudi capital with the planting of 7.5 million trees around all Riyadh’s features and facilities. It will reduce the average ambient temperature by 2 degrees celsius and improve air quality, so encouraging Riyadh citizens to follow a healthier lifestyle by walking or biking, in line with Vision 2030.
As for irrigation, which is very critical in the Kingdom, where water scarcity is a threat, a new irrigation network will be established by using recycled water that is usually wasted in the valleys. Furthermore, specially selected species of trees will be used that can survive in Riyadh’s desert environment and will not require large amounts of water.
The Green Riyadh plan will change the landscape of the Saudi capital and will add another major attraction to its residents and visitors.
With investments worth $13 billion Green Riyadh will offer new investment opportunities for local and foreign investors that are especially timely in view of the coronavirus pandemic.
Basil M.K. Al-Ghalayini is the chairman and CEO of BMG Financial Group.