HOK’s Anica Landreneau Helps Plan for a Sustainable Future in Saudi Arabia
At SXSW Eco in Austin, Texas, Anica Landreneau, director of sustainable design based in HOK’s Washington, DC, office, shared how sustainable best practices will support the country’s intention to “move away from oil toward clean energy and shift away from a totally car-centric environment.”
HOK worked with Saudi Aramco to create a set of sustainable urban planning guidelines.
“Saudi Arabian government officials see peak oil coming by 2028, with exports declining precipitously after that. This is a major issue for the Saudi Arabian economy because oil accounts for 80 percent of total gross domestic product (GDP). In addition, Saudi Arabia, with a population of 28 million, expects to have 35 million more people by 2040. This means the country needs to further diversify its economy away from the oil industry, which offers relatively few jobs, while concentrating population growth in cities as soon as possible. Landreneau said Saudi leaders recognize that ‘the economy will collapse’ if they don’t move to a more sustainable approach.
“Working with Saudi Aramco, which is tasked with leading a country-wide plan for sustainability and a new mandatory energy efficiency policy, HOK created new urban plans, including zoning schemes and low-carbon transportation systems, all vital parts of a more sustainable approach. Landreneau and her team proposed a set of sustainable urban development best practices to improve diversity and increase density for mixed-use developments.
“While HOK found that a new, sustainable urban development strategy could save 50 percent of the energy consumption and carbon emissions from the built environment, Saudi Arabia really wants to transform their cities in order to improve quality of life, safety, affordability and health.”