Journal of Advances in Humanities and Social Sciences
Journal ISSN: 2414-3111
Article DOI:
Received: 2 October 2016
Accepted: 5 March 2017
Published: 21 April 2017
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  • Urban transformation and sociocultural changes in King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) 2005-2020: Key research challenges

Oumr Adnan Osra

Published online: 2017


As one of four economic cities, the Saudi government has built King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) to achieve an economic transition, the construction of the economic cities has widely facilitated the application of the Saudi Vision 2030 that has been announced recently. The notion of economic city is basically aimed at attracting private capital and foreigners to invest in Saudi Arabia by means of several economic urban projects, as a way of expanding its economic base beyond the oil industry, and thereby transforming Saudi Arabia into a global business hub. Promoting the concept of economic city represents a transition from economic dependency on exporting crude oil towards creating other economic industries based on urban transformation. The Saudi government has enthusiastically plotted a path towards becoming a global hub of industry, R & D, education, and tourism,thus shifting its focus towards the post-oil era by means of a new economic solution. However, this shift could be challenging as it will need to employ an inexperienced local workforce while bringing in expatriates from other countries who may prefer to keep their own sociocultural lifestyles, leading to potential tensions between Saudis and expatriates, as well as among Saudis themselves. In the context of de􀏐ining and understanding what kind of sociocultural changes are taking place, these need to be acceptable to both Saudis and expatriates who live in KAEC in terms of designing the housing units, residential neighborhoods, and the built environment generally. This paper will focus on the research method, which will be used by the researcher to address the research questions. The paper will discuss the case study approach by examining the urban development in the two main cities in Saudi Arabia, namely, the city of Jeddah and the new masterplan of KAEC, not to mention the main attribute to be assessed and how it this would happen.