It has been announced that the Arab Future Cities Summit will be held for the second year running in Doha, Qatar at the St. Regis Hotel on 22-23 April, 2013. The 2012 event saw over 300 delegates gather to discuss strategies to create smart, sustainable cities, and the 2013 version is expected to be even bigger.
Under the patronage of His Excellency Sheikh Abdul Rahman Bin Khalifa Al Thani; the Minister for Municipality and Urban Planning in the State of Qatar, the Summit will provide a platform for city leaders, government officials, academics, urban service providers and city development experts to share experiences and best practice for the implementation of smart cities.
Presentations from local and international industry superstars will draw attention to transport, urban development, building and green spaces projects with a ‘smart’ twist and case studies will describe the experiences of leading smart cities including Barcelona and Amsterdam. Middle Eastern projects such as Qatar Energy City, King Abullah Economic City Saudi Arabia, Ziggurat Project Dubai, Knowledge Economic City Madinah and Prince Abdulaziz bin Mousaed City Saudi Arabia will also be examined at the event.
In its inaugural year the Arab Future Cities Summit was recognized as one of the most influential infrastructure events in the region. “It’s a great chance to learn a lot about the latest trends in thinking and planning for smart cities in the Arab region and globally as well”, Nidal Abdul-Rahman Taibah – Director of Urban Planning & Development at the Economic Cities Authority SAGIA KSA. Essa Al Maidoor – President of the Society of Engineers UAE, stated that “the Summit is very good because it brings experts from different parts of the world, and from different backgrounds and fields which will enhance the people in charge of developing the cities, especially terms of sustainable measures, which guarantees us prevention methods to improve the cities of the future”. Dr. Wajdi Ahmad, Technical Marketing & Solutions Director-Qatar Civil, GE Lighting, was another high profile delegate in attendance this year, and labeled the event as one the best he had ever attended, addressing the burning issues in the region.
As the hosts of the 2022 FIFA World Cup which is expected to draw around half a million visitors, the government of Qatar has outlined a plan to spend $100 billion on infrastructure projects as part of the country’s ambitious National Vision 2030 strategy. Mega projects proposed in the plan are primarily in the transportation, health, tourism, education and housing sectors, and include a US$25bn metro and rail network expected to be completed by 2026. Businesses looking to expand into the State of Qatar are using the Summit as an opening into the competitive market, and an opportunity to network with other decision-makers in the infrastructure and urban development sectors. Urbiotica sponsored the 2012 event to grow their company into the global market. “The quality of the delegates is very high and also an international group which is good for a company whose ambition is to become international”, Dr. Irene Compte – Executive Director, Urbiotica.
Qatar is emerging as one of the fastest growing economies, boasting the world’s highest levels of per capita income and hydrocarbon reserves which offer a unique situation for long term growth. Nevertheless, Qatar is facing major environmental challenges in achieving water security, reducing carbon emissions and increasing energy-efficiency, and Municipalities and organizations are taking particular interest in coordinating efforts to protect natural resources and develop strategies to promote sustainable development. Smart and sustainable urban planning involves the creation of urban communities that provide livability, equity and vitality based on the protection of natural systems for the long term benefit of all. This includes city ecosystems, fiber optic networks, ICT infrastructure and combined local resource management, and will be one of the key areas of discussion at the Summit.
The US$25bn Doha Metro 85km railway network is one of the transport projects planned to connect urban and rural landscapes and reduce Qatar’s pollution and congestion. Smart transport is a concept which will see enhanced mobility of people and goods, a personalized user experience, and reduced carbon emissions. Also on the agenda will be talks on smart buildings which incorporate intelligent information infrastructure into building architecture to achieve greater efficiency and discussion on boosting citizen participation and creativity. Topics will be covered through a mixture of presentations, case studies, panel discussions and round table discussions over the course of two days. More info