NewCities and King Abdullah Economic City Release Groundbreaking New Report on Global Greenfield City Projects

  • “Building New Cities: Challenges, Opportunities and Recommendations” provides insights into key strategies that the world’s most ambitious new city projects should adopt to succeed
  • Third edition of Cityquest – KAEC Forum, the leading high-level forum on new cities, will take place on December 8-9, 2015, in King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC), Saudi Arabia

KAEC, Saudi Arabia and Paris, France – March 3, 2015. NewCities and King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC), Saudi Arabia, today announced the publication of “Building New Cities: Challenges, Opportunities and Recommendations”, a pioneering report analyzing the greatest challenges faced by new urban mega projects worldwide. The two organizations also announce that the third edition of Cityquest – KAEC Forum, the annual high-level gathering of new city visionaries and leaders, will take place on December 8-9, 2015 in KAEC, Saudi Arabia.

The construction of brand new cities is a bold response to the urbanization challenge. Across the planet, hundreds of billions of dollars are being invested in new urban mega projects in countries including China, India, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia, Ecuador, the Philippines, Palestine, Morocco, Afghanistan, Germany and more. NewCities and KAEC came together in 2013 to create Cityquest, a unique partnership and platform for knowledge exchange and sharing best practices for the leaders of these projects.

Today’s report is a milestone in the Cityquest initiative, distilling key trends and priorities that emerged from the Cityquest – KAEC Forum in December 2014, which was attended by 227 senior executives from 28 countries, including representatives of ten new cities. The report is complemented by extensive research carried out by NewCities.

“Building New Cities” – Key Challenges Identified:

  • Striking the right balance between public and private sector planning and governance of new cities, including a discussion of issues such as corporatizing city management, financing infrastructure versus public space, and fostering diversity and affordability when building a city from scratch.
  • The role of technology and design in building a local identity, empowering people, engaging them in civic issues, bolstering a sense of belonging and community, and creating “happy cities”.
  • The need for “disruptive innovations” – new concepts, ideas, businesses and products that could help city builders pre-empt and solve perennial urban challenges. Innovations are identified in the domains of housing, urban design and collective public art experiences.

Insights are drawn directly from Cityquest participants, such as authors Benjamin Barber (“If Mayors Ruled the World”) and Charles Montgomery (“Happy City”); leading academic Paul Romer of New York University; city builders such as H.E. Mohammed Al Abbar, Chairman, Emaar; infrastructure leaders such as Lutz Bertling, President and COO, Bombardier and Wim Elfrink, Chief Globalisation Officer, Cisco; as well as innovators such as Daan Roosegaarde, Founder, Roosegaarde Studios and Juraj Vaculik, inventor of Aeromobil, a flying car.

Case-based examples and recommendations are drawn from the following 10 cities that took part in Cityquest – KAEC Forum 2014:

  • Colombo Port City, Sri Lanka
  • Clark Green City, Philippines
  • Gujarat International Finance-Tec City, India
  • Iskandar Malaysia, Malaysia
  • Jazan Economic City, Saudi Arabia
  • Kabul New City, Afghanistan
  • King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia
  • Lavasa, India
  • Rawabi, Palestine
  • Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City, China

The report also features insights from “older” models of new cities such as Dubai and Singapore, and other significant new urban developments such as Songdo, South Korea.

“Building New Cities” will form an important basis of ongoing conversations between the Cityquest community throughout 2015, and form a springboard for dialogue at the next Cityquest – KAEC Forum on December 8-9, 2015 in Saudi Arabia.

John Rossant, Founder and Chairman of NewCities, said: “New cities are one of the most extraordinary phenomena of our time. Wise, forward thinking city leaders know they can be testing grounds for the solutions to the greatest urban challenges. Yet they also recognize that dialogue and constant re-assessment are vital if their ambitious master plans are to stand the test of time. Getting a city right requires astute planning as well as openness to creativity, citizen feedback and disruptive innovations. That’s why we partnered with KAEC to launch Cityquest, and that’s why we published this report today. We hope the analysis and recommendations will be pertinent to those who are building the cities of the future.”

Fahd Al-Rasheed, Group CEO and Managing Director of KAEC, said: “The new report is a true indication of the success of Cityquest and highlights the importance of bringing together global leaders of new cities to share common goals, opportunities and challenges where they collectively unlock new growth horizons. The relationships we have formed with other locations are indispensable to KAEC not just during the construction phase but into the future, as well. We are looking forward to engaging with additional new cities and partners in the 2015 edition of Cityquest.”

Access the full “Building New Cities” report here:

Find out more about Cityquest at


Press contact:
Thomas Ledwell
Director of Communications
+1 514 987 0029

About NewCities

NewCities is an international nonprofit organization dedicated to making cities more inclusive, connected, healthy and vibrant. Focusing on people, places and policies, we bring together a global network of public and private sector leaders and Urban Tech innovators to foster results-oriented collaboration. We also produce actionable research that can be implemented by decision-makers across sectors.
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About Cityquest

Cityquest is a global community of the key visionaries, partners and builders of the world’s largest and most innovative new city projects, launched by NewCities and King Abdullah Economic City in 2013.

Cityquest – KAEC Forum is the core leadership event of the Cityquest community, and is held in KAEC, Saudi Arabia each year. The Forum’s chief objective is to generate cohesive strategies for making new cities a sustainable success.

The next edition of Cityquest – KAEC Forum will take place on December 8 – 9, 2015. Further details will be announced shortly. The latest edition of Cityquest – KAEC Forum took place on December 8-9, 2014. It brought together 227 participants from 28 countries.

Cityquest is further strengthened by the Impact-KAEC Fellowship, launched in 2014, that placed three Harvard design gradutes within KAEC business units for five months. Find out more about the Fellowship at

Cityquest-KAEC Forum is jointly organized by NewCities and King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC).
Twitter: @newcitiesfound #Cityquest

About KAEC

King Abdullah Economic City is one of the largest and most important private sector initiatives in the Middle East. Strategically located on the coast of the Red Sea in the north of Jeddah, KAEC is being developed into a fully integrated city with a capacity to host a population of two million people when is completed.

The city’s Industrial Valley has succeeded in attracting more than 60 national and international industrial companies, some of which are already operational. The King Abdullah Port, one of the 10 largest and most advanced seaports in the world, started import and export operations in January, 2014. The city’s Haramain Railway district and station connects with Jeddah and King Abdulaziz International Airport in less than 30 minutes and Makkah and Al Madinah within one hour. KAEC’s residential districts are supported by a high quality infrastructure and a complete range of services and facilities such as the World Academy School, along with a medical center for primary care and emergency operated by Dr. Soliman Fakeeh Hospital Company, KAEC represents one of the most innovative public private partnerships around the world and is the flagship of the Saudi government’s economic cities program.
Twitter: @kaec_saudi