Posted on March 27, 2014

Developing smart cities is no longer a vision but a reality in the Middle East with a heightened focus on integrating citizens, infrastructure and services with new generation information technology through sustainable measures.Qatar’s Lusail City, Pearl Qatar Island, Energy City, UAE’s Masdar City, Dubai Smart City and the six projects shaping up in Saudi Arabia clearly reflects the paradigm shift from being considered a mere desert on a global platform to now being a region of top priority for smart city solution providers.

In its third edition, the Arab Future Cities Summit 2014 is being hosted by Qatar’s Ministry of Municipality and Urban Planning (MMUP) on 7th and 8thApril at The Ritz-Carlton Doha. Representing MMUP, Dr. Hossam Samir Ibrahim, Urban and Environmental Planning Expert,will present the physical and spatial planning policy and strategy as a part of the Municipality Spatial Development Plans in Qatar (MSDP) that seek to achieve the orderly planning & development of land and infrastructure in line  with Qatar’s National Vision 2030.

A conference of over 400 senior government officials, developers, engineers, architects and industry giants like Cisco, Huawei, Microsoft, Vodafone, Simplicity, Bosch, AGT International, Atkins, Ooredoo, Qatar Cool, Accela and many more, the Summit promises to deliver a concrete roadmap to Qatar’s ambitious projects lined up for the FIFA World Cup 2022, National Vision 2030 and beyond. Speaking on the three ages of smart cities lived through so far, Dan Hill, Executive Director of Future Cities and Best Practice at UK’s Future Cities Catapult, a leading global innovation center, will share insights through his experience across projects in Sydney, Helsinki and Abu Dhabi leading up to his present work on the interplay between core urban infrastructures, urban fabric and urban economies.

Qatar Airways Baku

This week kick-starting the first phase of transformation into a Smart Corporation, Qatar General Electricity and Water Corporation, Kahramaa will highlight smart grids, a way forward in modernizing the electric grid system.Mohamed Nagib Omara, Technical Advisor to the President, His Excellency Eng. Essa bin Hilal Al-Kuwari,will speak on Kahramaa’s future grid plans to interact with smart homes and smart towns as well as how it plans to integrate renewable energy and the utility grids making the entire process sustainable.

The Summit will also witness a unique opportunity to learn from city promotion specialist Michael Charlton who has consulted for five Olympics, two World Cups and one World Expo. The International Director to Rio Negócios, Rio de Janeiro’s Investment Promotion Agency,Charlton will explore how such events can act as a platform for effective economic and social development, city and nation brand building, attracting incremental foreign direct investment and tourism to ensure a sustainable legacy.

Other esteemed guests sharing their expertise include Eng. Meshal Al Shamari, Director, Qatar Green Building Council; Sandra Baer, Director, Public Sector Transformation and Outreach, Smart Cities Council, USA; Muhannad Hammad, Manager of Drainage Networks Projects Department, Ashghal; Loay Ghazaleh, Advisor to His Excellency Undersecretary, Ministry of Public Works, Kingdom of Bahrain. With the intention to drive innovation, the Summit is a key event for all majo public and private sector players engaged to the development of smart and sustainable cities in the Middle East.

“Qatar’s clear commitment to public spending coupled with the most stable business environment in the region makes it the ideal location to host a gathering of senior stakeholders committed to creating smarter cities.Technology is enabling systems to operate in more effective and efficient ways, and engaging citizens in shaping innovation and urban development processes. This platform serves as an opportunity for knowledge sharing, partnership building and a unique chance to rub shoulders with smart city experts,” stated Charlene Corrin, Conference Producer at Expotrade Middle East, organizers of the Summit.

The Arab Future Cities Summit 2014 is an invitation-only event. The 2-day Summit will include panel discussions, roundtable sessions, presentations, networking sessionsand a showcase of solutions by 25+ high end international and local suppliers focused around innovative growth and technology for sustainable city development.