The New Murabba: a visionary 15-minute city

20th February 2024
Sheryl Miles

The New Murabba project, a purpose-built a 15-minute city, is an ambitious urban development initiative in the northern part of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia.

Part of a larger vision to transform Riyadh into a global city and enhance the country’s economic, cultural, and social significance, whilst reducing its dependency on oil, the New Murabba will see all areas of industry coming together to realise a completion by 2030. This forms part of Saudi Arabia’s 2030 vision to build a vibrant society, a thriving economy, and an ambitious nation.

The scale of the vision

Set in 19 million square meters of land, the city promises to be a “gateway to another world.”

Some key aspects of the development are:

  • Development scale: the project plans to develop an area that promises to offer residential spaces, commercial areas, cultural venues, and entertainment facilities, making it a comprehensive urban environment.
  • Cultural and economic impact: the New Murabba is designed to be a hub for cultural activities and economic growth, with facilities that include museums, theatres, and galleries, alongside commercial centres and innovation hubs. It aims to attract tourists and businesses alike, contributing significantly to the local and national economy.
  • Sustainability and innovation: sustainability is a core principle of the New Murabba project, with plans for green spaces, environmentally friendly transportation options, and sustainable urban design practices. The project also aims to incorporate the latest technologies and smart city solutions to improve the quality of life for its residents.

At the heart of the city will stand the Mukaab, a 400-meter square focal point that will be the tallest building in Riyadh – a symbol of the city’s ambition and progress.

This architectural feat aims to be an instantly recognisable landmark, utilising a modern design with sleek lines, innovative structures, and striking aesthetics with technological innovation and engineering to ensure sustainability through energy efficient designs and advanced digital infrastructure to support smart building operations and ensuring the comfort and convenience of its residents.

As well as its design, the Mukaab will be multifunctional hub, incorporating a range of facilities and amenities, including high-end residential units, luxurious hotels, premium office spaces, world-class dining and entertainment venues, and exclusive retail outlets as well as utilising the latest technology with immersive digital and holographic experiences.

The significance of Riyadh

The selection of Riyadh as the location for the New Murabba project reflects both the city's historical importance and strategic vision for the future:

  • Political and economic hub: Riyadh is the capital and largest city of Saudi Arabia, serving as the political, economic, and administrative centre of the country.
  • Vision 2030 alignment: Riyadh's development is central to Saudi Arabia's Vision 2030, which aims to diversify the economy and reduce oil dependence. By choosing Riyadh for such a monumental project, the government underscores its commitment to transforming the city into a global metropolis that can attract international investments, businesses, and tourism.
  • Cultural significance: Riyadh has a rich cultural heritage, being at the heart of the Arabian Peninsula. The New Murabba project aims to celebrate this heritage while introducing modern amenities and facilities, creating a blend of tradition and innovation that showcases the Kingdom's history and its forward-looking aspirations.
  • Strategic location: Riyadh's central location within Saudi Arabia makes it an ideal site for a project of this scale, facilitating connectivity and access from different parts of the country and the wider Middle East region – significant in its endeavours to become a global destination.
  • Economic growth and urban expansion: Riyadh is already a rapidly growing city, and the New Murabba project is set to further this growth by creating new economic opportunities, jobs, and infrastructure.

The 2030 vision

The New Murabba project and the Mukaab tower incorporate a range of advanced technology and engineering innovations to create a modern, sustainable, and connected urban environment:

  • Smart infrastructure: both the New Murabba development and the Mukaab tower integrate smart infrastructure systems, including smart grids for efficient energy management, intelligent transportation networks for enhanced mobility, and advanced water management systems for conservation and sustainability.
  • Green building design: sustainable building practices are a central focus, with features such as energy-efficient HVAC systems, green roofs, and high-performance building materials utilised to minimise environmental impact and reduce energy consumption.
  • Renewable energy: both projects incorporate renewable energy sources, such as solar panels and wind turbines, to generate clean and sustainable power. These renewable energy systems help reduce reliance on fossil fuels and contribute to the overall sustainability of the developments.
  • Smart building technologies: The Mukaab tower, in particular, employs smart building technologies to optimise operations and enhance occupant comfort and convenience. This includes automated lighting and climate control systems, occupancy sensors, and integrated building management systems.
  • Digital connectivity: robust digital infrastructure is implemented throughout the developments to provide high-speed internet connectivity and support emerging technologies such as Internet of Things (IoT) devices, smart sensors, and data analytics platforms.
  • Green spaces and urban planning: both projects prioritise the integration of green spaces, parks, and pedestrian-friendly pathways to promote health and wellbeing, mitigate urban heat island effects, and enhance overall liveability.
  • Advanced construction techniques: innovative construction methods and materials are employed to accelerate project timelines, improve construction efficiency, and minimise disruption to surrounding areas.

The New Murabba project and the Mukaab tower are set to become a holistic approach to urban development, leveraging technology and engineering to create sustainable, resilient, and future-ready urban environments.


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