On February 27, 2018, HRH Prince Faisal Bin Bandar, Chairman of the High Commission for the Development of Arriyadh (HCDR) and Chairman of the Riyadh Urban Observatory Council, patronized the opening ceremony of the HCDR-organized Riyadh Urban Observatory 2nd Forum, in the presence of HRH Prince Muhammad bin Abdulrahman bin Abdul Aziz, Vice-Chairman of the HCDR.
In his opening speech to the Forum, HRH Prince Faisal bin Bandar said that Riyadh, like all other Saudi cities, witnesses a comprehensive urban revolution under the wise leadership of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques, King Salman bin Abdulaziz, may Allah protect him, and HRH Crown Prince.
"Riyadh urban observatory plays a key role in guiding this comprehensive development in the light of the Metropolitan Development Strategy for the Arriyadh Region (MEDSTAR) and objectives of Saudi Vision 2030. The observatory monitors the metropolitan urban development activities and projects across the city and produces a collection of urban indicators to empower decision-makers and enable different sectors to assess and improve their performance," HRH added.
An effective tool for assessing the present and predicting the future
In his speech at the forum, H.E. Engr. Tariq Al-Faris, HCDR member and President of Arriyadh Development Authority (ADA), referred that many of the city's vital sectors witness significant growth and bloom.
"The observatory monitors the progress of all urban development projects and plans in the city of Riyadh and facilitates follow-up on the progress on the relevant plans in participation with 56 bodies covering all metropolitan sectors," he added.
At the end of the opening session, HRH Chairman of the HCDR, honored members of the Executive Committee of the Urban Observatory, and launched the observatory website: http://www.adacdc.sa
The one-day event featured two sessions: The first session was entitled “Objectives and standards of transformation towards smart observatories” and was chaired by H.E Dr. Fahad Bin Sulaiman Al Tekhaifi, president of General Authority for Statistics (GaStat). During this session, Dr. Nathalie Milbach-Bouché, Regional Cluster Team Leader of the UNDP Inclusive Growth and Sustainable Development Team, presented a paper on the "UN Agenda 2030 for Sustainable Development Goals".
Later, Dr. Balachandra Patil from the Department of Management Studies and Centre for Sustainable Technologies - Indian Institute of Science - presented a paper titled "Building Benchmarks for Urban Indicators".
Dr. Gora Mboup, founder and CEO of the New York-based Global Observatory linking Research to Action (GORA) and former Chief of United Nations Human Settlements Program (UN-Habitat)’s Global Urban Observatory, presented a paper titled "Transforming urban observatories into smart observatories".
The second session was entitled "Urban Observatories" and chaired by Dr. Abdullah Alsubail, Deputy Director General of the Arab Urban Development Institute. The session's contributions included a paper on the “National Urban Observatory” by Dr. Mohammed Bin Mousa Al-Freidi, Director of the National Urban Observatory at the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs.
A life satisfaction survey to assess life quality in Riyadh city
Then, Abdulrahman Al-Wahaibi, from the Riyadh Urban Observatory, presented a paper that explored key findings of a life satisfaction survey to assess life quality in Riyadh city, which was conducted by the High Commission for the Development of Arriyadh.
According to Al-Wahaibi, the study revealed that 76% of the surveyed sample said that life quality in Riyadh city today is better than it was five years ago, while 88% of the surveyed sample had better expectations about the next five years, especially after the launch of the Saudi Vision 2030.
During the second session, Eng. Abdulrahman bin Abdullah Al-Sultan, Executive Director of Riyadh Urban Observatory, made a presentation on the results of the "urban indicators of the city of Riyadh in 1438H", which were approved by the HCDR at its first meeting of 1439H.