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Eye of Riyadh
Business & Money | Tuesday 19 March, 2019 5:18 pm |

Middle East Smart Landscape Summit focuses on developing urban sustainable communities and the region’s green development plans and strategies.

The 7th Annual Middle East Smart Landscape Summit 2019, organized by Expotrade Middle East was inaugurated by Eng. Eman Al Mansoori, Director of Engineering – Tender & Contracts, Ministry of Infrastructure Development along with Talib Abdul Kareem Mohammed, CEO of Infrastructure Services Sector, Dubai Municipality in the presence of other VIPs.

Talib Abdul Kareem Mohammed delivered a welcome note, following which Ali AlShehhi, Director of Planning and Survey Division, Ajman Municipality and Planning Department delivered the welcome address to the delegates representing landscape architects and designers, urban planners and engineering consultants from across the region and other parts of the globe. His address focused on the strategic objectives of the Urban Planning and Planning Department – Ajman, along with the most important projects and efforts accomplished by the department and the initiatives undertaken in conjunction with the private sector and non-governmental institutions to increase green spaces in the region.

The event was opened by Fawaz Alharbi, Senior Head of Master Planning, Jeddah Economic City who presented on the topic titled unlocking the potential of nature within our built environment. Khalil Odeh Ali Shalan, Senior Vice President - Operations & Facility, Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority delivered a session on the sustainable initiatives followed by Dubai Silicon Oasis Authority along with the importance of implementing green roofs and the challenge in doing so.

Dr. Stanislav Shmelev, Director, Environment Europe delivered the keynote address on the topic titled cities, ecosystems and climate change. Emphasizing on the role of ecosystems in cities, he said, “Cities are the most important areas where the green economy model could have the largest impact. Knowing which cities are the sustainability leaders on a global scale is beneficial because their best practices could be potentially adapted to other cities, which are performing less well. Assessing sustainability performance could be done with the help of indicators and sophisticated multicriteria procedures. Our research shows that San Francisco, Stockholm and Seoul are consistently performing best globally and there is much to learn from their innovative policies for the rest of the world.

At the same time, our research shows that we could go one step further and establish the factors that would influence the performance of cities in each individual sustainability dimension. It is hugely important to understand the role of ecosystems, that we and our cities entirely depend on. Ecosystems are producing oxygen, supplying water and food, fibers and pharmaceuticals; ecosystems are maintaining the soils, supporting the global circulation of elements, purifying water and providing us with renewable energies, hosting a vast reserve of biodiversity, of which humans destroyed 60% since 1970 according to WWF. Ecosystems equally provide inspiration for artists, support social relations, provide educational value and the sense of place.”

The first day program agenda will cover 10 topics, including two panel discussions on innovative urban planning and design to boost sustainable infrastructure for future developments, and retrofitting parks, plazas, and playgrounds.  Each panel will consist of six subject matter experts representing government bodies such as Al Ain Municipality, Abu Dhabi City Municipality, and Sharjah Urban Planning Council, and from leading design and engineering firms, such as Arada, SSH, Benoy, HKS Architects Parsons, GHD, Place Dynamix, InSite Planners and Landscape Architects and Dabbagh Architects.

International speaker Neil Davidson, Partner, J & L Gibbons will open the second day of the conference with a case study presentation on how London is adapting to meet the needs of a growing population and changing environmental conditions. His session will be followed by a session from Dr. Hanan Aljabri, Director - Strategic Planning Directorate, Muscat Municipality and Steven Velegrinis, Head - Master Planning, AECOM on the topic re-imagining urban public spaces and Plus Urbanism respectively.

The conference has the support of over 20 leading landscaping companies, including Cape Reed International, Dynamo Playgrounds, Profile Products, Knauf Insulation, WT Burden, SIS Pitches, Glamour International, RAKNOR, MODBLOC Middle East and Consent, amongst many others. They will showcase their latest landscaping products and solutions to over 350 government and municipal officials, senior landscape architects and designers, engineering consultants and urban planners, and project developers.

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