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Participants in Jeddah forum urge "smart cities"

(With photos) JEDDAH, March 17 (KUNA) -- Participants in the Jeddah Economic Forum 2013 called Sunday for establishing smart cities that could fulfill the basic needs of a changeable society.
At a session held on the sidelines of the event, they stressed the significance of changing some cultures that have blocked population growth in some Middle East cities.
Dr. Liu Thai-Ker of Singapore, Director of RSP Architects Planners and Engineers, reviewed his role in his country's experiment in the housing field.
He argued that cities, just like cars, need engines and tools in order to maintain their sustainability.
He regarded sound environment, good education and strong economy as requirements for achieving modern cities.
Joseph P. Danko, Senior Vice President and Managing Director of Urban Programs in the US, said the competitive edge of cities should be boosted by means of reinforcing strong points that enable them to draw investments and provide thousands of jobs and create partnership between both public and private sectors.
He said new cities should be flexible and able to adapt to new technologies with a view to keeping abreast of the current developments and answering future needs.
Jaime Lerner, Former Governor of the state of Parana, Brazil and a housing expert, said the only thing that can make the city attractive is the high quality of living there.
He underscored the importance of means of transport in highly densely populated cities, saying public transport companies are a must for full smoothness in cities.
For his part, Ad Buisman, Partner at Ernst Young, and Head of Real Estate for Europe, Middle East, India and Africa, raised a question about the future ability of huge cities to deal with stupendous challenges, primarily dilapidated infrastructure.
He listed criteria for successful cities as sustainability, management development, good contiguity, infrastructure and sound environment.
The Jeddah Economic Forum 2013 focuses on "housing the growing population" as the housing becomes a challenging issue locally, regionally and internationally.
The forum hopes to provide solutions and suggestions for the housing issue and also will provide recommendations for government bodies to be able to solve this issue. (end) yms.mt KUNA 172057 Mar 13NNNN