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Published on October 25, 2020

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Green Riyadh: a green horizon for 2030

Aiming to plant more than 7 million trees by 2030, the Saudi capital's greening project, called Green Riyadh, is a first of its kind in terms of its sheer size. On a smaller scale, Australia has already undertaken similar projects for Sydney, as has Canada for Montreal. This is certainly the beginning of wider development of this type of operation, which will become vital at a time when environmental matters become a priority.

Green Riyadh

- Crédits : 2019 Riyadh Green

Since 2019, Egis has been fulfilling the role of project owner in this great adventure initiated by the Royal Commission for Riyadh. The Saudi authorities have placed their trust in us to manage a large-scale programme consisting of creating a new, greener, more eco-friendly city with a better quality of life for its inhabitants.

The programme combining smart technology and sustainability provides for the planting of 10 million trees by 2030. On completion, there will have been as many trees planted in the greater Riyadh area alone as in the whole of Europe over the same period. 210 districts and 3,000 urban parks are included in this major project whose components are environmental and climatic, but also societal and urban.

A green view of the city

Featuring among the world’s largest urban greening projects, Green Riyadh fully contributes to enhancing the variety of green spaces in the Saudi capital, with more than 10 million trees planted along the roads, in gardens, parks (urban and natural), around mosques, schools and universities, public buildings, healthcare institutes, car parks, etc.

The tree species (mainly acacia) were carefully selected – under the watchful supervision of the Royal Commission of Riyadh City and international experts – to withstand the region’s particular arid climate. Tree nurseries have even been installed to replace any specimens that might fail to take root. The goal is to achieve the best possible results in several areas: plant covering and shade, ease of upkeep, water consumption and visual enhancement.

Recycled water for plant irrigation

All the water used in this project (one million cubic metres of water used for daily watering) is recycled water. The project seeks to take advantage of the expedient and controlled reuse of wastewater to supply all the water necessary for these newly created green spaces.

By the end of the project, the programme aims for the city’s plant cover to rise from 1.5% today to 9.1%, representing approximately 541 km², by 2030. The ratio of green space per capita will thus reach the outstanding figure of 28m² per inhabitant (as against 1.7 m² today), a rate far higher than the recommendation of the World Health Organisation, which stands at 9 m² per inhabitant.

A geomatics platform to plan the project

To plan the project over the next 10 years, Egis has drawn up the programme’s design guides. This phase involves advising the highest Saudi authorities, and is essential to steer the future design and construction teams. To this end, our experts and engineers are using an online geomatics platform, which gathers all the data useful at all stages of the project: contractual, regulatory, asset management, planning, project monitoring, right through to the execution of the work. This platform could be described as a "super tool" that can be used to manage a huge programme encompassing hundreds of projects, ranging from soil quality studies to water availability, including the definition of tree colour ranges.

The Authors

Frederic Jehan, Head of Geomatic Development

Olivier Petit, co-director of the Green Riyadh program

Isabelle Lopez, Middle East Manager, City, Road & Mobilities BU

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