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Saudi Arabia

Saudi King launches billion dollar beautification programme

Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman will spearhead a $23 billion scheme to beautify the Saudi Arabian capital, the Saudi Press Agency has announced this week. They added it is intended that the project transform Riyadh into “one of the world’s most liveable cities”. The plans will include the possibility for an additional $15 billion of private sector financing, and the opportunity for the creation of tens of thousands of jobs.

Riyadh as a capital does not currently have the green spaces to compare with the Royal Parks in London or the parkland around the White House in Washington D.C. These plans will result in a 16% increase in green space per capita and go some way to allaying the concerns of some residents who perhaps felt that money would be better spent on Saudi Arabia’s existing cities rather than create new space-age ones. The crowning glory of the green space will be King Salman Park, the concept of this being one of the largest city parks in the world. The park will be served by residential and hotel properties as well as an arts complex.

With the arts, the plans also include the ability to display works by local and international artists throughout the city. The body, as well as the mind, will be catered for by a Sports Boulevard running from east to west across Riyadh incorporating paths for pedestrians, cyclists and those on horseback. It is thought that the new posts being created will check the unemployment rate currently heading towards 13%. It is understood plans for the schemes are now in the preliminary stage, though they are aiming for construction to commence in the third quarter of the year.

The Crown Prince will head the committee controlling what could be called a regeneration as many of our UK towns and cities are also currently involved with. This is unsurprising as, in addition to being Deputy Prime Minister, he is chairman of the Council for Economic and Development Affairs. There had been suggestions of a falling out between the Crown Prince and his father following the assassination of Jamal Khashoggi and the international row that followed; however, King Salman has indicated his wish that one of the roads in Riyadh is named after the Crown Prince.