Future Riyadh

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

The city of Riyadh is Saudi Arabia’s financial hub, and is home to over seven million people. His Excellency the Mayor of Riyadh was seeking to create a dynamic strategy and responsive framework to drive forward change in the Saudi capital.


With Riyadh experiencing significant and continuing growth, Buro Happold was enlisted to help tackle the wide range of socio-economic and developmental pressures that come with rapid growth.

future Riyadh
The project is helping to increase the quality of life for the city’s citizens in their neighbourhoods


To gain a complete picture of the current situation and emerging trends, our economists examined socio-demographic projections, with the comparative success of different economic sectors. Our strategic planners considered the city’s spatial development and the policy and planning frameworks that affect change, while our engineering consultants examined the condition of the city’s networks. We examined the city’s plans and our broad stakeholder consultations revealed the views, aspirations and needs of residents, business people, municipal departments and agencies.

Our team created a State of the City report, which was underpinned by a database of evidence. This included a GIS-based model that allowed the impact of different growth scenarios on the city’s spatial development to be analysed. The influence of variables such as accessibility, access to employment, availability of land and proximity to amenities could therefore be taken into account when exploring different development options.

The next stage was to work with the Municipality on a set of objectives linked to existing plans for Riyadh, and from these to develop a series of strategies, within a delivery framework aligned to the city’s major policy areas. To ensure buy-in, we facilitated big multi-stakeholder workshops, which were informed by rigorous testing of options against our evidence base.

future Riyadh


As a result of our work, four priority programmes were agreed. These included raising the quality of life for the city’s citizens in their neighbourhoods, and offering greater community engagement in planning and decision-making and in the provision of services. Furthermore, plans to create a dynamic city centre spine with high quality public spaces and facilities for citizens to enjoy, and a programme to tackle environmental challenges, including flood risk from severe storms and enhancing air and wadi water quality, were also proposed.

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