Jeddah: The Region’s Most Environmentally Sustainable City

Jeddah: The Region's Most Environmentally Sustainable City

Jeddah is the most environmentally sustainable city in the Middle East, according to the inaugural Sustainable Cities Index from ARCADIS, the leading global natural and build asset design and consultancy firm.

The Index, which was conducted by the Center for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) explores the three demands of society (People), environment (Planet) and economics (Profit) to develop an indicative ranking of 50 of the world’s leading cities. The 2015 report finds that no utopian city exists, with city leaders having to manage a complex balancing act between the three pillars of sustainability.

“Jeddah has one of the world’s fastest growing populations and is currently under commission by relevant authorities to fast-track the city,” said Hisham Malaika, Jeddah City Executive of Big Urban Clients at ARCADIS. “One of the key documents currently under commission is the Jeddah Strategic Master Plan which has earmarked ten target areas necessary for the city’s development including Urban Territory & Land Use Planning, Transportation and Environment”

Jeddah ranked 43rd out of 50 cities evaluated due to its growing population, increased number of pilgrims visiting each year and developing strategic and regional plans. Whilst Jeddah leads in the Middle East on Planet factors at 39th, scoring particularly well for drinking water and sanitation and low levels of air pollution, the city falls behind on the People and Profit sub-indexes.

Overall, Middle East cities come to lowest of the overall rankings, taking three of the bottom ten places. Dubai leads in the Middle East at 33rd, followed by Abu Dhabi at 34th, Doha at 41st, Jeddah at 43rd and Riyadh at 44th.

“Our world is changing at a faster pace than ever before. Developing technology, population growth and the emergence of a truly global economy mean that the notion of national borders is becoming less relevant. Instead, we see the concept of the ‘global city’ taking hold,” Malaika adds. “The Sustainable Cities Index highlights the areas of opportunity for cities, to inform decision-making and hopefully make them more sustainable economically, environmentally and for the welfare of their inhabitants.”