Built upon the four principals of Conserve, Grow, Connect, and Experience, Perkins Eastman’s vision for the massive Al-Ula Region of northwest Saudi Arabia brings together a collection of unique landscapes and experiences. The four pillars encompass the myriad issues that the regional plan must address today through 2035 and beyond. Using these pillars as a framework for dialogue, we address their intersection, their opposition, and seek a sustainable balance for the future. Based on the pillars, our approach sets goals and outlines actions to achieve those goals at multiple spatial scales.
Of the nearly 3 million hectares included in Al-Ula County, we allotted nearly 85% to preservation, adventure tourism, and ecological tourism. Where settlements and developments occur, they emerge along transit routes like petals from the central historic core. At the heart of this mixed-use “eco-village,” a north-south artery follows the path of the revived historic Hijaz Railway from Damascus to Mecca, and new development abuts a centuries-old mud-brick settlement known as “Old Town.”
Natural and cultural assets help define sub-regions and travel routes, which are buffeted by an expansive new infrastructure system. The local economy, today dominated by the government administrative sector, will be diversified through a combination of hospitality, tourism, commerce, technology, research, mining, and agriculture.