As part of its efforts to promote sustainable urban development across the country, particularly its major cities, Saudi Arabia has been working on several strategies, initiatives, innovations, and plans carefully designed to meet its key goals. As part of its efforts is the Riyadh Urban Observatory (RUO), which was launched by the Royal Commission for Riyadh City (RCRC) and aims to promote comprehensive urban planning across the Saudi capital. It does this by working with both private and public sectors in collecting data from across the city, and analyzing them for strategic planning.
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The RUO was a result of Saudi Arabia's continuous collaboration with the United Nations Development Program (UNDP) since 2009. Following the successful training on decision-making for urban development in 2021, the observatory is now ready to help Riyadh carry out sustainable urban developments. In fact, this aims to achieve the goals set by the Kingdom's Vision 2030 program, but also those by the National Transformation Program 2020 and 2025, and the UN Sustainable Development Goals' Agenda 2030.
As stated, the RUO operates by collecting data in order to provide strategic planning. It gathers data through government departments such as the RCRC, Al Riyadh Municipality, the Ministry of Interior, Riyadh Traffic Department, Police of Riyadh Province, Electricity & Cogeneration Regulatory Authority, Ministry of Culture and Information, General Department of Education in Riyadh Region, and so on.
Furthermore, the data collected are also categorized through 11 indicators as follows: identifying indicators; economic development indicators; public service indicators; social development indicators; sustainable transport indicators; infrastructure development indicators; housing indicators; sustainable environment indicators; local administration indicators; entertainment indicators; and smart sustainable cities indicators.
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Indeed, being the capital makes Riyadh one of the most important cities in Saudi Arabia, but also home to one sixth of the Saudi population as of 2017, as well as taking up an area measuring 3,115 square kilometers. Hence, the RUO is here to make sure that Riyadh will always be able to achieve sustainable urban development for years to come.