Urban Planner Specialist, I-ICA-2, (Riyadh, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia), Deadline: 30 November 2017


Issued on 15 November 2017


UN-HABITAT, Future Saudi Cities Programme 


UN-HABITAT Office in Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs, Riyadh, the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.


Urban Planner Specialist




12 Month contract


30 November 2017

The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) supports countries in developing urban planning methods and systems that address current urbanization challenges. It promotes urban planning approaches to address urban expansion and transformation.  
There is indeed an urban planning crisis: the unplanned city is largely inefficient and requires increasing resources to make it more functional and liveable. Only those cities able to embrace different patterns of growth and address inequalities and inefficiencies will be able to provide better lives for their residents, while limiting ecological damage.  
Urban Planning Frameworks have changed very little in the past 50 years, despite huge changes in the urban world, and a new approach is required which links planning to legal instruments and a sound financing and economic rationale. In this respect, five principles of sustainable urban planning are being promoted by UN-Habitat:  
1. Plan in advance of population increase, with the view to remain basic but relevant and comprehensible but not necessarily comprehensive, and to leverage plans for revenue creation through value capture. 
2. Plan at the scale of the problem, particularly the projected growth of the urban population.
3. Plan incrementally, starting with streets and following with water and sanitation, drainage, energy and lighting, transport, etc. This gives priority to improving the proportion of land allocated to streets and in turn supports service delivery and progressive taxation.
4. Plan for density and mixed land use, aiming at vertical features that lower transaction costs, positively impact the economies of scale (and economies of agglomeration), and improve revenue from taxation. 
5. Provide for urban networks for sustainable mobility and sustainable energy.

UN-Habitat has also signed a five-year partnership, the Future Saudi Cities Programme (FSCP), with the Ministry of Municipal and Rural Affairs in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia which will serve as a catalyst for sustainable urban and territorial development while contributing to the delivery of the 10th National Development Plan 2015-2019 (10th NDP). One third of the objectives of the 10th NDP (8 out of 24) are closely related to urban aspects: standards of living and quality of life (# 10), youth empowerment (# 12), women empowerment (# 13), job opportunities (# 15), housing (# 16), public services and facilities (# 21), balanced regional development (# 22), governance (# 23).  
The FSCP planning activities will be developed by a technical team located in both UN-Habitat’s headquarters in Nairobi and UN-Habitat Office in Riyadh.    

The objective of this consultancy is to provide technical inputs on urban planning and design and to contribute to the development of a new generation of transformative projects in 17 partner cities


The consultant will fully report to the Riyadh Office Team leader in Riyadh, and work in close and full coordination and cooperation with the FSCP HQ Planning Team Coordinator and FSCP Outcome 2 coordinator.  She/he will contribute to the implementation of the Office activities by performing the following tasks:  
1. Support the UN-Habitat’s headquarters in Nairobi and the FSCP Planning Team Coordinator in the planning activities related to the FSCP. 
2. Supervise and monitor the activities of UN-Habitat Riyadh Office planning team in the development of the following tasks:
a. Provide planning and design inputs including regional, citywide strategies and urban transformation plans in 17 cities. 
b. Elaborate 17 city profiles.
c. Undertake review regional and city plans, strategies and reports to ensure that regional and national dimensions are adequately covered and interlinked; 
d. Review of proposals and design prepared by local planners for various pilot cities. 
e. Develop critical analysis of existing planning documents and instruments.
f. Provide inputs to guide or facilitate the delivery of relevant urban legislation reviews and financial mechanism in view of plan implementation and planning processes support. 
g. Develop and organize participatory, multi-stakeholder processes tailor made for the projects in a specific context.  
3. Manage and take part in field missions. 
4. Represent the UN-Habitat Office in Riyadh at meetings and conferences. 
5. Support the Integrated Rapid Planning Studio preparation and execution in 12 cities.
6. Regular liaison with focal points in Amanahs and municipalities 
7. Ensure collaboration with MOMRA planning departments, urban planners, engineers and Amanat focal points in formulation of integrated planning outputs. 
8. Supervise junior urban planners in Riyadh team and also coordinate with the other Riyadh team working in the CPI, youth and gender, training and capacity building, advocacy, etc. 
9. Take additional tasks as requested by the FSCP team leader.

The consultancy will focus on 1) Helping cities develop practical, feasible approaches to implementing urban planning interventions through direct planning support;  2) Assisting national governments to scale up successful local-level approaches through tools development, and 3) Build the capacities of planning and facilitating institutions (development control, construction plan scrutiny, etc.) 

8 main outputs that are expected are:  
1. Urban Planning and Design proposals. 
2. City profiles related with planning proposals. 
3. Comments and inputs to planning proposals.
4. Presentations. 
5. Inputs to economy and legislation reviews related to urban planning. 
6. Participatory, multi-stakeholder processes and related sessions. 
7. Clear analytical drawings, design drawings and diagrams at various scales: region, city, and neighborhood. 
8. Reflective texts on projects, processes and best practices.

Output production will be documented regularly through interim reports covering the tasks above and one final report, summarizing the work done and presenting all outputs in electronic and hard copy format. Daily presence in UN-Habitat office in Riyadh is expected.    


  • Professionalism:  Knowledge and understanding of theories, concepts and approaches    relevant to urban planning and design. Strong analysis of urban form, urban systems, underlying social, legal and financial mechanisms and the political context. Ability to develop strong graphic materials (concept plans, diagrams, street sections) as well as substantive reports. Knowledge of urban development issues. Ability to observe deadlines and achieve set goals. Ability to work and deliver under pressure.
  • Communication: Excellent written and oral presentation skills in English. Excellent capacity to produce and manipulate graphic documents and drawings. Good presentation skills. Ability to communicate complex interventions in a clear language and convincing narratives. Sketching capabilities to effectively communicate in workshop settings and teams. 
  • Teamwork:  Ability to work collaboratively with colleagues to achieve agreed goals.
  • Planning and Organizing: Ability to prioritize activities and assignments and to easily switch between different projects.
  • Creativity: Strong conceptual thinking. Is not bound by current thinking or traditional approaches, takes calculated risks on new and unusual ideas; thinks “outside the box”, and offers new and different options to solve problems or meet client needs. Can easily develop clear plans in contexts with limited information and datasets. Finds ways to extract and combine data and information to create base maps. Is both able to reduce complexity as well as sensitive to specific urban form and the landscape.
  • Management: Ability to manage smaller project teams, divide workload and sustain efficiency.


Minimum advanced university degree (Master’s degree or equivalent) in Architecture or Urban Planning, or related field that is relevant for sustainable urban development and urban planning and design. A first-level university degree in combination with qualifying experience may be accepted in lieu of the advanced university degree. 

Work Experience: A minimum of 7-8years of experience in urban planning or design, a significant part of which should be directly related to different aspects of urban planning such as territorial planning, city-wide planning, urban extension plans, urban redevelopment, land management, landscape and public space design etc. A combination of practitioner/private sector, academic, and public sector experience would be considered an asset. The candidate has a portfolio of plans and designs of which he/she is the author. Experience of long-term engagements/consultancy to national/regional/local governments focused on implementation of urban projects.  Planning experience in Arab countries and/or planning in contexts of water scarcity and extreme weather conditions will be an advantage. 

Technical Knowledge:

  • Urban planning contemporary approaches.
  • Team management skills.
  • Able to represent UN-Habitat in technical meetings and workshops.
  • Research and analytical skills combined with good drafting and drawing skills, manipulation of graphic material and production of complex urban planning documents.
  • Writing skills, in English and possibly another UN language.
  • Able to manage a team and deliver on time under pressure.
  •  Knowledge of Kingdom of Saudi Arabia planning context, or planning experience in the Kingdom or other countries of the region will be an advantage.

Language Skills 
For this consultancy, fluency in oral and written English is required. Although not a requirement, knowledge of Arabic or other languages will be an advantage.

UN-Habitat offers competitive salaries and benefits based on standard United Nations rates. The level of remuneration of the national junior planner will be based on experience and qualifications..

Interested candidates should complete the United Nations Personal History form (P.11) and forward it electronically at the following email address: nora.saiari@unhabitat.org no later than the deadline. Please indicate the vacancy reference number in the subject line of your email.


  • Only short-listed candidates will be notified.
  • Candidates are encouraged to submit their application electronically.
  • UN-HABITAT reserves the right to re-classify the post at a grade lower than the advertised level. 

UN-HABITAT gives paramount consideration in ensuring the highest standards of efficiency, competence and integrity in its recruitment process of personnel. To ensure fairness and transparency, selection of candidate will be made on a competitive basis by a selection panel. 

Please also be advised that since April 15th 2010, applicants for consultancies must be part of the 

UN-HABITAT e-Roster in order for their application to be considered. You can reach the e-Roster 
through the following link: http://e-roster.unhabitat.org

Deadline for applications:   30 November 2017

UN-HABITAT does not charge a fee at any stage of the recruitment process (application, interview meeting, processing, training or any other fees). UN-HABITAT does not concern itself with information on bank accounts.

Source: UN-Habitat

This article is culled from daily press coverage from around the world. It is posted on the Urban Gateway by way of keeping all users informed about matters of interest. The opinion expressed in this article is that of the author and in no way reflects the opinion of UN-Habitat. 

Deadline/closing date: 
Thursday, November 30, 2017