Kingdom ideal for ‘Smart City’ development

Updated 09 September 2014

Kingdom ideal for ‘Smart City’ development

Saudi Arabia is an ideal place for large-scale development and a conducive testing laboratory for “Smart City” services, according to Omar Al-Momtaz, consulting manager for IDC Saudi Arabia.
“Saudi cities have witnessed an exponential increase in population, to the point where Smart City management has become a necessity,” he said, adding that it would help existing cities cope better with quick population growth.
He said that no city in the world has seen its population treble at least twice a year, notably in Makkah in Haj and Umrah, while regulating the flows of many millions of people moving across a well-defined, yet limited space.
He added that the ongoing Haramain high-speed railway project, spanning 450 km and running at more than 300 kph, could represent the ideal starting point for Smart City traffic management, since stations at Makkah, Jeddah, King Abdulaziz International Airport, King Abdullah Economic Cities and Madinah, are already under construction.
“They are located in future ‘Smart Cities’. With a traffic load of more than 3 million passengers per year, it surely requires intelligent support services and additional public transport systems (buses, Jeddah metro, etc.) to deliver on such services,” he said.
Al-Momtaz added that the journey toward a Smart City involves a multifaceted transformation.
“These initiatives must impact areas from the provision of transport, energy, and health care services, to the state of public safety and government services,” he said.
He added that a Smart City comprises the successful integration of multiple domain initiatives that result in a multiplier effect to the city as a whole.
He also said that enabling access to a vibrant economy for businesses, citizens and local government is the ultimate goal of a Smart City and effective Smart City solutions must integrate information and operations between city systems.
“For instance, to provide effective and smart public safety, governments would require a seamless view across its border management, surveillance, emergency response and other related systems,” he said.
He said that the following include the attributes for a solution to be considered “smart”:
*In gathering data, the pervasive broadband networks must be in place to collect and transport it in real time or in near real time.


Riyadh roads turn green as world’s largest urban greening project branches out

Based on experience, roads and streets without trees contain eight to 10 times the amount of dust compared with streets lined with trees on both sides. (Photo/Supplied)
Updated 03 August 2020

Riyadh roads turn green as world’s largest urban greening project branches out

  • Capital gets a facelift as Vision 2030 program works to plant 7.5 million trees
  • Most of the tree species used in the project are from a well-developed local environment with low agricultural service and care

RIYADH: The Green Riyadh project, one of the world’s largest urban greening initiatives, is rapidly bearing fruit as it transforms main roads in the capital.

Major thoroughfares, including King Khalid, Makkah and King Salman roads, are getting a facelift as part of the Vision 2030 goal of improving quality of life in the city.
Dr. Fahad Al-Mana, a professor of Ornamental Plants, Gardens and Green Areas at King Saud University, told Arab News that native tree species being used for the project include Ziziphus spina-christi, Acacia gerrardii and Prosopis cineraria, commonly known as the ghaf tree.
According to Al-Mana, the trees can survive in harsh desert conditions and will grow without intensive agricultural care.
“Most of the tree species used in the planting of the Green Riyadh project are from a well-developed local environment with low agricultural service and care,” he said.
Environmental conditions in Riyadh were taken into account during the tree selection process. The species can grow to a large size in only three years.
“In some locations, they have moved large 3-year-old local trees that were taken care of in plant nurseries to new locations where they are growing successfully,” Al-Mana said.
Green Riyadh will increase the amount of greenery in the city and augment the green cover in the Saudi capital with the planting of 7.5 million trees around the city’s main features and facilities.
The project will reduce the average ambient temperature by 2 degrees Celsius and improve air quality, encouraging people to follow a healthier lifestyle by walking or cycling.

FASTFACTS

• The project will reduce the average ambient temperature by 2 degrees Celsius and improve air quality, encouraging people to follow a healthier lifestyle by walking or cycling.

• The project will maximize the use of recycled water in irrigation works by increasing usage from 90,000 cubic meters per day to more than 1 million cubic meters per day through the construction of a new recycled water network.

• Green space in the city will increase from 5 percent to 9 percent by 2030

“The aim of planting trees in the streets is to provide shade and moderate the temperature, especially in summer, which contributes to the purification of air and reduces environmental pollution by protecting the city from sand storms, winds and dust. In addition, it gives an aesthetic view and the element of nature enters the city and nearby structures,” said Al-Mana.
He added that trees, especially those planted in central street islands, must have long trunks and high branches to avoid hindering the movement of pedestrians and cars. The trunk must measure at least 3 to 4 meters and the size of the trees planted must be proportional to the width of the island.
Al-Mana said green space in the city will increase from 5 percent to 9 percent by 2030.
According to the Green Riyadh website, the project will maximize the use of recycled water in irrigation works by increasing usage from 90,000 cubic meters per
day to more than 1 million cubic meters per day through the construction of a new recycled water network.
Al-Mana said the Green Riyadh project will also reduce carbon dioxide and impurity levels in the city.
“Based on experience, roads and streets without trees contain eight to 10 times the amount of dust compared with streets lined with trees on both sides,” he said.