The Future Saudi Cities Program highlights equity and social inclusion as key pillars of sustainable urbanization, focusing on the equitable distribution and redistribution of the benefits of a prosperous city as well as citizen engagement in governance processes. A key point of departure for the programme is the promotion of inclusive planning practices and a premise that cities with fuller engagement and effectively responding to the needs of women and youth (as well as other groups, such as the elderly), invariably have an enhanced level of prosperity.
Building up the Partnership with Women and Youth-led Organization in Each City:
The programme has held several meetings and has undertaken a number of missions across the kingdom. It has met with different women-led and youth start-ups as part of mapping relevant organizations for the programme. These are detailed in separate reports, highlighting specific entry-points for the programme. The purpose of the mapping has been to: I. Identify relevant groups for the programme to engage with. II. Start the process of understanding the realities and needs of different population groups. III. Identify how they can individually or institutionally be champions of the FSCP. For the latter, so far the programme has already drawn on this pool for interns and consultants and for nominations to Advisory Group on Gender (AGGI) and Youth Advisory Board (YAB). There will be one new mapping mission undertaken every 2 months to complete the exercise for the full set of 17 Program cities.
Production of Women and Youth Indicators:
The program has committed to ensure youth and women-specific data to catalyse more informed and responsive policies and actions of Saudi cities and create conditions to measure present and future progress. We are in agreement with our national counterpart on having 5 youth indicators as part of the CPI and the formulation and collection of these indicators will be sub-contracted to WARIF, as youth representative on the National Habitat Committee.
A first meeting with selected Saudi Women Sustainable Urbanization Network representatives from Universities and the private sector have been held on how the CPI can be more gender responsive and to look at both age and sex-disaggregated data where possible. This is an important contribution to the overall CPI, where there is room to enhance the analysis of women and men in cities. The meeting noted in particular the need for sex-disaggregated analysis on employment opportunities after graduation in program cities; affordability of transport, and the use of streets as public space.
National Urban Campaign: “My Neighbourhood My Responsibility”
The Future Saudi Cities Program advocates among Saudi youth groups and women in various Saudi cities sustainable urbanizations of green, connected, integrated, liveable, productive, equitable and smart cities and neighbourhoods. The programme partners with academic institutions, universities, and local authorities, NGOs, Ministry of Municipalities, Ministry of Planning and Ministry of Housing in advocating for a paradigm shift in planning and managing cities and its public spaces. During the World Cities Day, the programme launched together with the al-Omran Society City changer campaign a competition among students of the Saudi universities on their aspirations for public open space as an entry point for revitalizing the city they want.