Foster + Partners chosen to take Saudi city of Jeddah back centuries

Famous UK-based architecture firm Foster + Partners has won an international competition to develop a new transport vision for Jeddah, the second biggest city in Saudi Arabia.

The plan is to counter the dominance of the car in the city, where only 12% of some 3.4 million people live within a 10-minute walk of a transport node. 

The firm said it would try and increase that figure to 50% through densification, better planning, and looking to Jeddah’s past.

In a statement Foster + Partners said the plan would take inspiration from Jeddah’s own ancient centre, a district known as Al Balad.

Dating back to the 7th century, the district is a model for urban design in hot places, the firm says, with its dense, mixed-use layout and walkable, shaded streets. 

The plan will anticipate growth "centuries from now" and will include design for the city’s new metro, plus other transport modes including ferry, bus, and cycle. New types of public spaces and development nodes will also be developed. 

Last year the firm won the contract to design all 46 stations of Jeddah’s planned $12bn metro system.

Foster + Partners said: "Each station node will create a new neighbourhood, with a unique character, and together these will create a diverse and vibrant city."

Image: Artist’s impression of one of 46 new metro stations to be designed by Foster + Partners (Foster + Partners)

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