Urban October, the First Gulf Housing week conference kick off

Muscat: Tasks of an event titled “October Urbanization Conference” and the “GCC Housing Week” kicked off at Oman Convention and Exhibition Centre today.

The opening of the three-day event was held under the auspices of HH Sayyid Shihab bin Tarik Al Said, Deputy Prime Minister for Defence Affairs.

In a press briefing, HH Sayyid Shihab stressed the significance of the conference which, he said, is the most outstanding event in the Sultanate of Oman’s urban planning and housing sector. The event sees a large regional and international turnout, he said.

HH Sayyid Shihab added that an exhibition held on the sidelines of the conference showcases successful models and highlights prominent experiences in the fields of housing, urban planning and smart cities, notably the Sultan Haitham City project, which constitutes a replica for Greater Muscat.

The conference, which takes the slogan “Better City, Better Life”, underscores the importance of sound urban planning and the extent to which it reflects on social and economic wellbeing of cities.

Besides enhancing sustainable urban economy, the conference also fosters the concepts of sustainable educational environment and empowering ecological balance.

The conference lays emphasis on four main themes: “Housing”, “Urban Planning”, “Future of School Buildings” and “Flexibility of Cities”. More than 60 regional and international specialists and experts will lecture during the three-day event. They will present 65 scholarly research papers.

The accompanying exhibition showcases the products, innovations and services of 35 local and GCC entities taking part in the conference. A large number of participants are expected to participate in the conference and the accompanying exhibition and activities.

The opening ceremony included the launch of the “First GCC Urban Planning Hackathon” featuring the inputs of 80 participants who represent 16 teams from various universities and colleges in GCC states.

The hackathon, which highlights the specializations of architecture, city planning and urban planning, launches a three-day contest on providing innovative solutions to urban planning and architectural designing challenges posed to a given region. The winning teams in the hackathon’s contest will be announced on the last day of the conference.

This evening, a dialogue session will be held on the masterplan of Greater Muscat. A key speaker at the session will be Dr. Khalfan Said Al Shuaili, Minister of Housing and Urban Planning, who will elaborate on Greater Muscat’s structural plan, its salient features and developmental approaches envisaged within the context of contemporary urban transitions. – ONA

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