Quick Fixes for KAEC

By Jannis Koehn

King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) is the first proper city that we discussed in the course. At least, it might eventually become one. Whether it qualifies as a sustainable city remains to be seen, and I do not want to get bogged down in the question what an economic city is exactly. So far the city developers are stuck with interdependency among sectors none of which yet exists, lack of capital, lack of knowledge and lack of a strategic plan. I want to suggest that a few adjustments may help the Protagonists to solve this Gordian Knot. Continue reading

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Planned Urban Developments versus Natural Gathering Points

By John Niehaus

One thing that struck me after seeing the slides on Kumbh Mela was this remarkable difference between forced urban developments, like King Abdullah Economic City and Masdar, and natural points of gathering, like Kumbh Mela every 12 years. Throughout history, most cities in the world have been created by being natural points of gathering, either for religious, cultural, or economic purposes. However, the rise of powerful and wealthy central governments with a growing middle class, for example in China, Saudi Arabia, and the UAE, has led to an increasing trend of governments choosing(or attempting) to locate and build cities as they see fit. Continue reading