Discover Oman’s plans for this smart city of 100,000 people

A digital representation shows a “smart city” being built on the outskirts of the Omani capital, Muscat.

Oman has unveiled ambitious plans for a new “smart city” of 100,000 people on the outskirts of its capital, Muscat.

Covering an area of ​​14.8 square kilometers, Sultan Haitham City (literally, Sultan Haitham City) would be the equivalent of Beverly Hills – but with almost three times as many residents.

The project, shared exclusively with CNN by American architecture firm Skidmore, Owings & Merrill (SOM), includes 20,000 homes, as well as a university, schools, health facilities and mosques. It is to be built on a large piece of undeveloped land in the Al-Seeb area, several kilometers west of Muscat.

The new neighborhood, named Sultan Haitham City, will have 20,000 new homes. sound/attach

Work on the project is expected to begin next year and be completed in four phases. The first phase, which will run until 2030, will develop the 5 square kilometer city center and six of the 19 neighborhoods planned for the project. The final phase is not scheduled to be completed before 2045.

In a press release, SOM said the project will provide “vibrant public space, high-quality, affordable housing and smart urban mobility.”

Although there is no universally accepted definition of “smart city,” the term generally describes the use of sensors, cameras, and Internet-enabled devices — the so-called “Internet of Things” — to collect and use data from the built environment. Although critics have raised privacy concerns, many urban planners believe that big data will help cities provide more effective and efficient public services, from traffic management to environmental monitoring.

Covering an area of ​​14.8 square kilometers, the district is roughly the same size as Beverly Hills.

In a statement, Bernhard Reddick, one of SOM’s senior associate directors, said Sultan Haitham City’s “smart infrastructure” will be used to “monitor environmental factors such as air quality and water management.”

The plans include a traffic management system that uses “real-time data from cameras and speed sensors (…)” to adapt vehicles and control traffic flow, the company added.

Removal of oil

The new initiative is part of Oman Vision 2040, a state initiative aimed at increasing the use of renewable energy and reducing reliance on oil, which currently accounts for more than half of the state’s revenue.

SOM said its master plan is designed to “reduce” the site’s “ecological footprint,” citing solar energy installations, wastewater recycling, infrastructure for electric vehicles and waste-to-energy plants. The architects could not specify how much of the district’s electricity would be generated from renewable sources, but pointed to Oman’s national goal of producing 30% of its electricity from green sources by 2030.

SOM said its plan is responding to high temperatures and humidity in Muscat, where temperatures exceed 40 degrees Celsius. Recently released digital renderings of the project show shadowy streets lined with brick and wood structures. Streets and buildings will be intended to maximize shading and promote natural ventilation, the agency said.

The project envisages establishment of shops, university, schools, health centers and mosques. sound/attach

On the other hand, a park with squares and “an interconnected network of open spaces” will be the heart of the neighborhood. The park will be built on a 7.5-kilometer stretch of a dry riverbed, which, according to the architects, will be used to control and capture floodwaters in coastal areas prone to seasonal flooding.

In a statement, Oman’s Ministry of Housing and Urban Planning described the project as an “urban extension” of Muscat. The new neighborhood should be connected by a public transport system to the Omani capital, located at the tip of the Arabian Peninsula.

SOM is known for buildings such as the world’s tallest skyscraper, the Burj Khalifa, but it has also designed urban master plans for places like London’s Canary Wharf and Chicago’s Millennium Park, where the company is headquartered.

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