Soudah Development

Part of Saudi Vision 2030, Okana created an urban design code for the Soudah Development project, covering a 627km² landscape in the Aseer region.

  • Soudah Development

  • Soudah, Saudi Arabia

winding mountain road with hairpin turns snakes through a rugged, dry landscape with rocky hills and sparse vegetation.

Soudah Development is owned by Saudi Arabia’s Public Investment Fund. As part of Saudi Vision 2030, a government programme promoting increased diversification, it will drive development in Soudah and parts of Rijal Almaa in the Aseer region. A significant part of this is Soudah Peaks, a luxury mountain tourism destination expected to contribute over $7bn to Saudi’s GDP by attracting 2 million tourists by 2033.

  • 2030

    Part of Saudi Vision 2030

  • 627km²

    627km² landscape

  • $7bn

    Expected to contribute over $7bn GDP

  • 2 million

    Attracting 2 million tourists by 2033

Alongside these economic expectations, the goal is to position Soudah Development and Saudi Arabia as leaders in developing destinations that successfully balance commerce and sustainability. This includes preserving culture, heritage, and the natural environment. There are over 200 documented heritage sites within the development zone from hamlets, mosques and minarets to watchtowers and mountain forts.

Okana started working on this project during 2023, creating the Soudah Urban Design Code (SUDC) to cover the entire 627 km² landscape. The urban design code acts as a guideline for design, ensuring it is in keeping with local heritage, promoting consistency and anchoring the local identity within any proposed future developments.  The SUDC safeguards, builds on, and compliments local culture with sustainability a key measure of success. The code also acts as a bridge between broader regional planning and the focussed Soudah development zones.

Completed in Autumn 2024, the code is the culmination of Okana’s work with an array of specialists, from European urban planners and data experts to Middle Eastern engineers as well as the architectural department of the nearby King Khalid University in Abha, Saudi Arabia. The production of the SUDC was split into three key phases. The first was an in-depth analysis of the Soudah site, including visits, to experience and assess the unique cultural landscape. The team also analysed all related documents, including detailed masterplans of several key development zones within the wider area.

The second phase oversaw the development of priority area options where both new and existing developments would be regulated by the code. Boundary options were developed utilising view-based protocols, ensuring the code retains control over existing and future development from key viewpoints, destinations and primary routes. The final stage was the delivery of the SUDC.

Broadly the SUDC acts as a stringent guide for existing and future development within the Soudah area, ensuring that its accumulative look and feel both defines and responds to Soudah, and contributes to its unique sense of place.  It outlines appropriate approaches for parameters such as detail, materiality, colour, and massing for each unique character zone.

A scenic view of a countryside landscape with rolling hills, fields, and small white buildings with various green and red plants in the foreground.
Panoramic view of a mountain range with clear blue sky above and sparse green vegetation in the foreground.

When the Soudah Peaks masterplan launched in autumn 2023, the ten year plan stipulated its wider aims. These include less than 1% of land would be acquired for building and that Saudi commitment to protecting and preserving the environment would be achieved through “best in class sustainability standards”.

Okana’s SUDC will continue to be the key tool in ensuring those ongoing standards as well as readying Soudah planning and construction for the commercial aims and environmental standards of the decade ahead.

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