Jeddah facelift: Illegal slums being cleared

Jeddah Municipality’s cleanup drive is in full swing.

Jeddah Municipality’s cleanup drive is in full swing.

Authorities are gearing up to give southern Jeddah a massive revamp.

Random neighborhoods are being demolished as proper residential quarters, equipped with extensive infrastructure, will come up in their places.

The Jeddah Municipality began razing several such illegal neighborhoods last week. “We demolished 720 houses in a single day as part of development plans for eight neighborhoods,” said Hassan Ghunaim from the municipality. “House owners were compensated and served notices before we demolished properties.”

There are over 50 random neighborhoods in Jeddah that lack basic infrastructure, ruining the aesthetic appearance of the coastal city.

The notorious Ghulail and Petromin neighborhoods, known for having high crime rates in the city, are home to scores of illegal expats, mainly from Africa.

These neighborhoods even house workshops and scrapyards. The municipality also closed down several such workshops last week and removed 255 unused vehicles and 6,500 tons of scrap from the area.

Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah formed a high-power committee to study random areas in Jeddah in 2008. The then Makkah Gov. Prince Khalid Al Faisal visited the Ghulail and Petromin areas in 2012.

The Jeddah Development and Urban Regeneration Company was assigned to carry out the project with private participation. The development of the area and the relocation of buildings will be the main goals of the revamp. The 54 unplanned settlements have been classified into four categories, ranked according to their attractiveness to private developers on a sliding scale.

Those believed to be the most attractive will be redeveloped first, while four sites will be developed by Jeddah Municipality itself. The municipality announced that it would also extend comprehensive support to renovation efforts in the University District, Nuzlah Yamaniah and several localities around old Makkah Road.

The Sabeel District in Jeddah was the first slum to be renovated and developed. The municipality had demolished 156 houses to expand the road network in the neighborhood.

 
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