Why Middle East needs more cities

11 Jul 2017 Khaleej Times

Expand and modernize existing ones sustainably

There is a crying need to create new cities as the population in the Middle East (ME) gallops and urbanization takes huge strides.

United World Infrastructure (UWI) Principal Vafa Valapour reinforced the importance of developing such new cities as the world marks the UN World Population Day on Tuesday.

The Dubai-based global city developer stressed that rethinking of urban strategies for nations in the ME is paramount.

“According to several measures, key countries across the Middle East and GCC, in particular, could witness above average population growth over the next few decades as growing numbers of global citizens search for the opportunities offered in their cities,” said Valapour.

Considering the Middle East’s huge urban challenge, Valapour said, “As the world moves towards a forecasted 9.8 billion population by 2050, the key to ensuring we are both resilient enough to cope with such growth and prepared and able to thrive as a region up to and beyond 2050, is through developing new cities and expanding and modernizing existing cities, in a way that supports resource efficiency, while being financially sustainable and socially enriching.”

He added, “Rising, and increasingly urbanizing, populations offer decision makers in the region and across the world an opportunity to shape the role their cities can play in creating shared prosperity, improving health and longevity, and improving the happiness of citizens, residents, and workers alike.”

“If we are to meet a future urban population challenge, measuring and aspiring to improve the happiness of our citizens will be key,” he underlined.