In collaboration with the Almadinah Development Authority, the King Salman Center for Local Governance will hold the Kingdom’s first Conference on Humanizing Saudi Cities. Taking place in late 2017 in Madinah, the conference will serve as a platform for local government leaders, policy-makers, researchers, private sector representatives and citizens to discuss how to make their cities more livable and suitable to residents’ basic needs and aspirations. Ultimately, the conference will serve as a first step in creating a road map for humanizing Saudi cities and is aligned with the country’s transformational Vision 2030.
Cities are often held in high regard for their ability to boost both economic and social activity due to the high concentrations of people and capital in one place. Oftentimes people move to cities with aspirations for a better life, however, the reality can be quite the opposite. Today, for the first time in history, more people live in cities than in rural areas. In Saudi Arabia, this increasing trend of urbanization is even more pronounced, with more than 83 percent of people living in cities.
The gap between expectations and the reality of city life, combined with the unique potential of cities as sought after places to live and work, has led local governments around the world to embark upon ‘liveability’ projects. The liveabilty of a city is generally measured as a resident’s lifestyle across categories such as stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education and infrastructure. Liveability projects focus on the human dimension of cities, aiming to change cities in such a way that their inhabitants can lead a more fulfilling life.