Smart City Planning Underway In Suhar, Nizwa And Salalah

Muscat: The Ministry of Housing and Urban Planning has launched an ambitious initiative to support the development of “Smart Cities” in three key locations in the Sultanate of Oman: Suhar, Nizwa and Salalah .

To this end, the Department has invited international urban engineering consulting firms to bid for three contracts to develop designs and master plans related to Smart City implementation in three localities.

The initiative originates from the Oman National Spatial Strategy (ONSS) first announced by the ministry in March 2021. Labelled as “an essential catalyst for the realization of Vision Oman 2040”, The spatial strategy defines a common framework for urban growth in the country over the next 20 years. It also aims to ensure that the nation’s major cities remain competitive and that their growth aligns with the United Nations’ 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.

One of the many national and governmental priorities outlined in the Spatial Strategy is the call for the creation of “vibrant, sustainable smart cities” that are tailored to sustain the quality of life, work and leisure. These smart cities will be supported by “diverse and easily accessible means of transport, integrated with targeted and rational urban planning and world-class sustainable infrastructure “.

To conceptualise and plan new smart cities, selected consultants will draw inspiration from the Smart Cities platform launched by the government last year. In addition to highlighting the need for physical infrastructure in the form of roads and utilities, the platform also highlights the importance of digital infrastructure, such as broadband and network penetration. communication network. This is seen as key to supporting businesses, universities and innovators, and creating the main attraction for foreign investors looking to tap into the potential of these cities.

While the proposed smart cities in Suhar, Nizwa and Salalah are essentially national initiatives, a number of pilot and small-scale smart city initiatives have been launched in Sultanate of Oman.

This includes the example of Petroleum Development Oman  (PDO), which signed an agreement with an Omani company specializing in the Internet of Things (IoT) last year, to pilot Smart Cities in the Ras Al Hamra residential  and leisure community.This initiative aims to reduce the impact on the environment and improve the quality of life of the people.

Tilal Al Irfan, constituting the first phase of Madinat Al Irfan — the Sultanate of Oman’s City of the Future’ in Muscat Governorate — is proposed to be the country’s first truly smart city. Promoted by Majid Al Futtaim Communities, Tilal Al Irfan is envisioned as a thriving commercial and residential destination that will accommodate as many as 50,000 residents living in 11,000 contemporary homes and apartments. Services and amenities will include a business park, education facilities, healthcare and community recreation centres, a central market town square and an entertainment and hospitality precinct.