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Norman Foster suspends his advisory role for Saudi Arabia's megacity project

Saudi Arabia Architecture News - Oct 23, 2018 - 05:17   14043 views

Norman Foster suspends his advisory role for Saudi Arabia's megacity project

British architect Norman Foster has suspended his "advisory role" for Saudi Arabia's $500 billion Neom mega-city project, with the news arriving about the missing journalist Jamal Khashoggi. 

While the speculations continue over the mission journalist, the Saudi Arabian government has admitted to the killing of dissident journalist Khashoggi in the Saudi Arabian consulate in Istanbul on October 2, 2018. 

According to the Architects' Journal, Norman Foster has temporarily stepped back from his role on the Neom Advisory Board in which 18 global experts were listed to to offer insights, advice and connection with partners and investors to help realize Neom’s desert mega project.

Norman Foster suspends his advisory role for Saudi Arabia's megacity project

Image clourteys of Neom

Advisory Board members from around the world hold their first meeting in New York to discuss vision for Neom in August. The Advisory Board panels also includes Travis Kalanick, CEO of City Storage Systems, Neelie Kroes, Former Vice President of the European Commission and Carlo Ratti, Professor of Urban Technologies and Planning Director at MIT’s Senseable CityLab. 

Last week, a statement sent from Foster + Partners to the Architects' Journal wrote that "Lord Foster wrote to the head of the NEOM advisory board, stating that, while the situation remains unclear, he has suspended his activities in respect of the board."

Meanwhile, a spokesperson from Carlo Ratti Associati said that "the ’board [was] not currently working’, adding that ’both Carlo and our team are gravely concerned about the Khashoggi case’ and ’are waiting for the results of the US investigation to evaluate the best course of action", according the AJ.

Regarding the death of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan stated today that "Turkey had strong evidence Khashoggi was killed in a premeditated and "savage" murder at the Saudi consulate," reported the BBC. Turkish police is still trying to find the missing body of Jamal Khashoggi. 

The NEOM's 10,200 sq-mile desert mega-city aims to focus on sustainability and innovation, making it a core pillar of Vision 2030, Saudi Arabia’s ambitious blueprint to diversify its economy and enable wider societal transformation. 

Norman Foster suspends his advisory role for Saudi Arabia's megacity project

Image courtesy of Bloomberg

The mega-city will include high-tech projects empowered by wind and solar energy where robots, humans and cosmopolitan lifestyle are integrated each other. The project is also set to develop the information and digital sectors that contribute to the Kingdom’s GDP.

The project aims to develop eleven key economic sectors for the future, in addition to the establishment of industries that curb economic leakage in the Kingdom and the region in general. Neom's vision will be achieved through the establishment of development funds, that will support these sectors, identified as: the future of energy and water, the future of mobility, the future of biotech, the future of food, the future of advanced manufacturing, the future of media, the future of entertainment, etc. 

The main objectives of the project are listed in a 5-page facts sheet

Top image © David Eustace 

> via The AJ