Riyadh looks to the future: the New Murabba project

Saudi capital is a candidate for Expo 2030 by investing in large infrastructure and mega urban redevelopment projects

If the Riyadh underground, the pharaonic and constantly evolving project that the Webuild group is helping construct, should extend to the extreme northwestern boundaries of the Saudi capital, it would end up in a vast expanse that stretches as far as the eye can see.

And yet, by 2030, a brand new and modern neighborhood will rise here, a financial and entertainment hub where citizens and tourists will experience the life of the future.

New Murabba, as the project is called, will in fact be a city within a city, a neighborhood that will extend for 19 square kilometers at the intersection of King Salman and King Khalid roads, with an expected 104,000 homes and 9,000 hotel rooms.

Work and sustainability for Riyadh’s future

The new futuristic Riyadh neighborhood is born out of the idea and will of Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman, who is also President of the New Murabba Development Company, the company charged with managing the building of the project.

New Murabba is part of Vision 2030, the grand infrastructure development plan launched by the Saudi Kingdom and conceived also in view of the Expo 2030, for which Riyadh, Rome and Busan are competing.

In addition to boosting Riyadh’s bid for the Expo, the project should also be a great accelerator of wealth and work. When New Murabba is completed, it is expected to create 334,000 jobs, directly and indirectly and boost Saudi Arabia’s GDP by $48 billion, diversifying the economy away from a dependence on crude oil and improving the life of the inhabitants of the capital.

Sustainability is the foundational principle of this project, therefore the entire neighborhood will be realized with green spaces, cycling and pedestrian lanes, and of course well connected to public transport like the city’s subway, by now one of the most capillary urban transportation networks in the world.

The New Murabba project for a 15 minutes city

The 15 minute city is a concept that is spreading rapidly around the world. From Rome, where Webuild is completing the subway’s C line connecting the suburbs to the historical center, to Singapore; from Paris, where the work sites of the Grand Paris Express are busy night and day, to London. In all these cities the mayors are promoting the concept of large cities with vital centers that can be reached within 15 minutes thanks to the creation of independent, modern and sustainable neighborhoods.

Riyadh’s answer to this paradigm will be the New Murabba project, because in the new neighborhood green areas, government offices, restaurants and subways will all be reachable within 15 minutes. A network of foot paths, bicycle lanes and public transport above and beneath the ground will connect the 80 sites dedicated to art, culture and entertainment, in addition to all the various attractions that will be built in the new neighborhood.

The great cube in which to watch the future

The most significant element of the new neighborhood will certainly be the Mukkab, an enormous, hyper technological and sustainable building that aims to become the leading destination in the world for an immersive experience. What is astounding is first of all its size: A cube with 400 meters long sides, a volume capable of holding 20 Empire State Buildings inside it. It’s three layers will consist of a spiraling tower, inside a bell, inside the huge cube.  Once inside, the visitors enters a new world: hotels, apartments, museums, theaters, health and wellness centers, meeting and business venues. The most innovative element of this building will be the immersive technologies inside it. According to New Murabba Development Company, the huge dome surrounding the tower will come alive thanks to digital technologies and project holograms that will recreate existing or fictional worlds, like an ocean filled with huge creatures or the surface of Mars. And who knows, maybe watching the crystal walls of the new Saudi giant, one may well be able to see how the future will be.