To get a sense of the size of the plan that Parsons International is working on for the Royal Commission at Yanbu, you need to re-orient your thinking. Usually, in planning we deal with incremental change and city plans for modest sized municipalities. Yanbu’s overall plan area is about 600 square kilometers—being developed as part of a national scheme to diversify the Saudi economy and engage more Saudis in the labor force. The Yanbu Industrial City Vision is to be “the Kingdom’s prime destination for high value industrial investments, offering global connection, smooth movement of goods, world-class infrastructure, and high skill labor.”
The American Planning Association was selected by the Royal Commission to provide an objective, third party review of the Parsons’ led effort. APA Outreach Director Jeff Soule and ISOCARP President-Elect Ric Stephens participated in the kick-off meeting June 15-18 in Yanbu. We met a number of the 35 experts working full time on-site for the project including His Excellency Dr. Alaa Nassif, chief executive officer; Dr. Hichem Trache, head of master planning; Salah Salem Bahobail, EP advisor for master plan; Waleed Hasan Dabbour, urban planning director; Jeff Stevens, senior urban planner; David Hyder, transportation planner; Nathan Cox, principal urban designer; Ahmad Qadah, architect; and Ron Merrit, contract manager. Anthony Brown, principal project manager, introduced APA to the Royal Commission and is the key liaison with the project.
Mr. Soule is currently preparing an MOU regarding ISOCARP/APA exchange and collaboration.