Dr Roudaina Alkhani, Director of Platforms and Lecturer in Architecture and Cities, was recently invited to the Makkah Economic Forum to chair a panel on ‘Enhancing Connectivity and Leveraging Smart Logistical Assets’, to support regional development in the rapidly growing Makkah Region.
This year’s Forum was held in Makkah City, Saudi Arabia, linking to the theme ‘The Road to an Urban Future’ and under the patronage of Prince Khalid Al-Faisal, Advisor to the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques and Governor of Makkah Region. The Forum brought together investors, experts, and stakeholders at all levels, and aimed to support in delivering the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Vision 2030 that draws a map towards the country’s social and economic growth.
The panel that Dr Alkhani chaired, ‘Enhancing Connectivity and Leveraging Smart Logistical Assets’, was identified as one of the essential frameworks to determine the quality and future of the Makkah Region. The Region receives several millions of visitors a year during Hajj Time, while there are currently also plans to strengthen the area as a forward-thinking, logistical platform that supports local and foreign investments.
Key topics of discussion included public services and infrastructure, urban development, and transportation and logistics services, to highlight the unique investment opportunities in the Makkah Region as a whole. The panel looked at the national industrial and logistics strategy, identifying possibilities and challenges at national, regional and sector levels. They were able to identify the importance of smart management and moderating conflicting interests between people and goods.
The discussion concluded with valuable recommendations and ways forward that can be integrated into the 2030 Vision, such as smart warehousing areas and the establishment of a high-tech train network connecting the industrial cities.
The Forum was also attended by seven ministers, along with investors, city authorities, consultants and academics, to offer a platform for the exchange of experiences and solutions to prompt smarter, cleaner, human-focused and better connected cities.
Sharing her thoughts on the event, Dr Alkhani said: The Forum was a unique opportunity to explore this type of smart regional growth connecting areas and urbanites. This emphasises the importance of smart and collaborative regional planning to manage growth sustainably, envisaging together the development of urban areas, infrastructure and logistics while respecting natural areas and the environment. It is about smart and sustainable regional place-making.”
She was also interviewed by Saudi TV as part of Saudi news to share her experience of chairing this important panel.