Diriyah City Strides Towards Child-Friendly Streets
For most Saudi cities urban development patterns were geared for the ease of vehicular movements within and between neighborhoods. Neighborhood planning practices imported from auto-oriented cities in the West, more particular the U.S., have dominated the urban scape leaving nearly no space for pedestrians especially children. Many urban streets and public spaces have become inhospitable to children. They do not provide secure, safe, and attractive environments to children and families. Important changes have become a necessity to re-claim streets and public spaces for their prominent use, a place to learn, play and peer with other children.
Against the desired need of city governments and families to create child-friendly urban environments, this paper examines Diriyah Municipality efforts to achieve city-wide child-friendly environments, especially within neighborhoods. During the last four years, Municipality of Diriyah has adopted and implemented several projects to rejuvenate city neighborhoods to achieve various objectives. The research utilizes field surveys and interviews with city officials and mirrors the city efforts with international achievements in that manner. It will draw conclusions on the level of success achieved in Diriyah and whether they can be transferred to other Saudi cities. Streets are ought to be re-claimed as an important area of a healthy, livable and interactive aenvironment for children and families.