Delivering global insights and best practices for Middle East cities to sustainably manage their long-term urbanization, the World Future Energy Summit announced today the launch of the new Future Cities Forum.
The Future Cities Forum, on Wednesday, 20 January 2016, will be held on the theme of “Shaping the Urban Future Together: Creating Sustainable and Resource Efficient Communities”. Attendees can hear from leading global government experts on best practices in managing complex, long-term urban challenges and the latest innovations across energy, water, transport, urban planning, and mitigating climate change.
Sixty six percent of the world’s population is projected to live in urban areas by 2050, up from 54 percent in 2014, according to the United Nations. To meet the challenges of urbanization, governments around the world are using advanced technology to develop Smart Cities, with Frost and Sullivan predicting a USD1.56 trillion marketplace by 2020. The Middle East and North Africa hosts among the world's most ambitious smart city plans, including Abu Dhabi’s Masdar City, Qatar’s Lusail City, The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s four Economic Cities, and Morocco’s largest city of Casablanca. Thanks to smart buildings, a pedestrian-focused layout and technology cluster, Masdar City consumes 40 percent less energy and water than built-up areas of a comparable size.
Masdar City recently inaugurated a solar power storage system with Energy Nest, and signed an agreement with Chinese real estate firm Vanke on a research and development project. “Masdar City is a ‘green-print’ for sustainable urban design – and what we will focus on at the Future Cities Forum is the need for global cities to integrate both environmentally friendly policies and commercial opportunities to drive sustainable development,” said Anthony Mallows, Director of Masdar City.
Smart Dubai is working with the United Nations’ International Telecommunications Union to develop the world’s first smart city key performance indicators, and the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050 aims to generate 75 percent of power from clean energy over the next 35 years. “Dubai is undergoing a seismic shift in developing and encouraging smart city solutions – and at the Future Cities Forum we will focus on the power of public private partnerships, government innovation, and data-based analytics for smart buildings, transportation, and utilities that will support Dubai as a leading global smart city,” said Dr Aisha Bin Bishr, Director General, Smart Dubai Office.
Atkins, the international design, engineering and project management consultancy, will share best practices from supporting the future-proofing of cities in the GCC, China, the United States, and the United Kingdom. “With the population of the MENA region expected to double by 2050, at the Future Cities Forum we’ll be sharing our expertise which is helping to maximize the value of our clients’ built assets by ensuring they’re holistically planned, sustainable, resilient and appropriate for the long term, taking careful consideration of the drivers for change across the region, and how the resulting opportunities can be harnessed and risks can be mitigated,” said Simon Moon, chief executive officer, Middle East of Atkins.
“The tools and insights which are accessible to us today mean we’re able to develop a much better understanding of how buildings, infrastructure and their environment really do interact and perform, and to make well informed decisions to support their lifecycle – it’s essential that we apply this knowledge today for the benefit of our future urban and social environments,” added Simon Moon.
Many Smart Cities across the region are diversifying their energy mix to include renewables, especially solar power. “An approach to Smart Cities involves many aspects that will result in more sustainable urban living. From water and energy conservation to better use of public transport, more efficient air conditioning solutions and renewable energy generation are all part of a holistic plan to optimize the use of resources,” said Roberto De Diego Arozamena, CEO, Abdul Latif Jameel Energy and Environmental Services, which will be one of the key sponsors of the World Future Energy Summit 2016 in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
“A good example of such a plan is the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy 2050, announced by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, which includes the intention to have solar energy in every rooftop in Dubai by 2030,” added Roberto De Diego Arozamena.
Global consulting, design and program management firm C2HM, a WFES sponsor, will showcase its vision for smart, sustainable cities and infrastructure, and share best practices from its recent delivery experiences in the Middle East, India, and Europe. “At CH2M, our vision for future cities is based on creating vibrant, accessible, financially sound communities that attract business and provide a rich social fabric and environment where people want to live and work. As the competition between global cities increases, the need for talent, investment and resources will become critical,” said Neil Reynolds, Senior Vice President and Regional Managing Director, MENA and India.
“More than ever, cities will need to focus on enhancing their economics, as well as the environment and the quality of life they can offer. Smart infrastructure is the key – whether transportation, water, energy or waste – and CH2M has the smart city solution that can help,” added Neil Reynolds.
The Future Cities Forum will also host the Habitat III Sustainable Energy Thematic Meeting, determining the policy agenda for the United Nations New Urban Agenda. Hosted by Masdar, The World Future Energy Summit 2016 is held at the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre from 18-21 January 2016, co-located with International Water Summit and EcoWASTE.