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Capacity Building for Urban Efficiency and Productivity

Turning knowledge into actions: urban management, urban economy, finance mechanisms


Northern Africa and Western Asia




Studies, Research, and Capacity Building

Project Details


  • Riyadh (Kingdom of Saudi Arabia)


  • Consultancy


  • Marc Weissgerber
  • Clurb




The aim for capacity building among urban practitioners aligns strategically with Saudi Arabia's transformative Vision 2030 and the National Spatial Strategy (NSS). This initiative arrives as the country diversifies its economy beyond its traditional reliance on oil, enhancing its cultural and natural heritage, and focusing on sectors like tourism to build a sustainable post-oil future. To ensure the success of these transformations, it is crucial to enhance institutional capacities, innovate policy tools, and streamline processes to encourage collaboration among various stakeholders at national, regional, and local levels.

Site visit.

Turning Knowledge into Action

The project, a collaborative effort between the UNDP and the Saudi Ministry of Municipal, Rural Affairs and Housing (MoMRAH), seeks to elevate planning systems to the highest international standards. This includes tackling challenges such as localising sustainable urban development, building capacities for implementing the NSS by 2030 and improving access to urban data.

The training aimed to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of the MoMRAH’s processes and procedures and to implement the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in harmony with the Saudi Vision 2030 for better institutional management and coordination.

30 participants representing development authorities, municipalities, and the MoMRAH from every region took part in the three-week training program on urban management, urban economy, and finance mechanisms.

Transdisciplinary Training

Training Modules

The three training modules were held in an integrated manner, highlighting the interlinkages between local economic development, urban financing and marketing, and overall management. It focused on providing tools, methods, and protocols to enable participants and allow them to turn theoretical knowledge into actions, boost participants’ capacities in implementing their targets and daily work, and increase urban efficiency and productivity in cities and regions of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. 

Workshop presentation

This allowed to focus on cutting-edge topics: financial tools for sustainability, circular economy, and society through smart urban management, and adaptive urban planning to mobilise private and public investments.

Site visit.

With a good combination of lectures, active workshops, team work, keynote speakers inputs, participant presentations, and site visits, the training provided participants with concepts, case studies, tools, and the opportunity to build networks and learn from their peers.

The capacity building achieved its goal as not only were lectures shared, and workshops and visits held, but it created an environment of companionship and professional networking between authorities and regions. The training triggered conversations through the most updated knowledge on management, economy, and finance.

The training was developed under a strategy that combined passive and active engagement from the trainees led by: inputs from the trainers and outputs from the participants. Each module was held by a trainer and two facilitators but supported by the previous and next modules. All modules followed a consistent combination of lectures, keynotes, international case studies, and practical exercises: group work, peer to peer learning, spotlight presentations, site visits, and interactive material. 

The training was led by three experts in the training subjects each appointed for one module and training week: Thomas Stellmach for Urban Management (TSPA), Marc Weissgerber for Urban Economy, Evandro Holz for Finance Mechanisms (ClUrb). Each module was also supported by well-known experts invited as keynote speakers.