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Innovative cities from UAE, Saudi and Australia highlight sustainability strategies

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31 Jul 2012

Case studies in urban sustainability strategies from Dubai, Jeddah and Perth, Australia will be presented at the Future Cities Conference, 2-4 October, as MENA population is predicted to reach 430 million by 2020.
Case studies in urban sustainability strategies from Dubai, Jeddah and Perth, Australia will be presented at the Future Cities Conference, 2-4 October, as MENA population is predicted to reach 430 million by 2020.

The urban setting across the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region is now under increasing pressure due to the rapid urbanisation in the past ten years, prompting regional authorities to step up efforts in combating key urban challenges.

According to the World Bank, 192 million people in MENA reside in urban areas, representing 58 per cent of the total population of 331 million. UN projections predict that the overall MENA population will reach 430 million by 2020, of which 280 million are expected to be located in cities, representing an increase of 45 per cent, compared to the projected rural increase of 8.5%.

The rapidly increasing urbanisation of the MENA region and the corresponding challenges it faces will be highlighted at the Future Cities Conference and Exhibition, where global case studies from the UAE, Saudi Arabia and Australia will be presented, showcasing how innovation and transformation in sustainable urban strategy can be applied.

Taking place alongside Cityscape Global from 2-4 October at the Dubai International Exhibition and Convention Centre, Future Cities will bring together top influential leaders behind the cities at the forefront of groundbreaking urban design.

Following the Keynote Address by H.E. Eng Hussain Nasser Lootah, Director General of the Dubai Municipality, His Excellency Dr. Hani Mohammad Ahmad Aburas, Mayor of the Jeddah Municipality will demonstrate how Saudi’s second largest city is turning the strategic plan of Jeddah 2030 into action.

As the commercial capital of Saudi Arabia, Jeddah is expecting to add one million extra housing units by 2030 to cope with the increasing number of expats and an influx of Saudi nationals from rural areas.

Joining Aburas will be Lisa-M. Scaffidi, the Right Honourable Lord Mayor of Perth, who will present a case study on the Western Australian coastal city as the Indian Ocean gateway to the rest of Australia.

Home to 1.9 million people, Perth is one of the fastest growing cities in Australia, with local government authorities steering development to establish the city as the premier destination for business, nightlife, culture and the arts as more people choose to make the city their home.

While the MENA region boasts two megacities in Cairo and Tehran, each home to more than 10 million inhabitants, 25 per cent of the region’s urban population is concentrated in cities between one million and five million people, while 50 per cent reside in cities under one million.

Against the very high regional urbanisation rate, the provision of adequate infrastructure and public services is a key urban challenge. This is all the more taxing given the backlog of underserviced populations and the increasing pressure on fragile surrounding environments.

The three day Future Cities Conference and Exhibition is the region’s premier platform uniting public and private sector stakeholders in active discussion to tackle the challenges urban leaders face in implementing and maintaining sustainable urban growth in challenging economic times.

Rohan Marwaha, Managing Director of Future Cities, said: “The migration of populations to cities creates a significant challenge for city planners as they work to create a sustainable infrastructure, while maintaining sensitivity to the preservation of cultural heritage and historic landmarks.”

“In such challenging times, it has never been more important for local, regional, and international leaders to come together and share collective experience, engage in open dialogue and discuss progressive ideas to ensure the sustainable development of tomorrow’s cities.

“Future Cities Conference and Exhibition provides the necessary platform to source solutions and long term strategies for ensuring social, economic and environmental development.”

Now in its second year, Future Cities is jointly organised by the Dubai Municipality, Informa Exhibitions, Environmental Centre for Arab Towns and Arab Towns Organisation.

The exhibition will feature the latest technologies and services in environment and waste management, sustainable design, green energy and green building products.

Other headline speakers at the Future Cities Conference include Dave Smith, Chief Executive of Sunderland City Council, UK, and Abdul Mohsin Younes, CEO of Strategic & Corporate Governance Sector at the Roads & Transport Authority, UAE.

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