Kuwait City, Kuwait
City population: 60064
Duration: 2013 – ongoing
Implementation status: Ongoing
Scale: Micro-scale: District/neighbourhood level
Project area: 200000 m2
Type of area: Residential, Public Greenspace Area
Last updated: April 2022

Al Shaheed Park is the largest park in the country. The park was designed to include besides its green spaces, several buildings (museums, parking) populated with green roofs and an artificial lake. The size of the park with all the mentioned grey and green elements stands at 20 ha. The park is viewed as an encompassing part of a green belt that surrounds the city of Kuwait. From an environmental point of view, the park was built to protect the city from sandstorms and to reduce air pollution. From a cultural point of view, the park and the museums are providing the public with high-quality programs, events and spaces, and part of their mission is to spread awareness and educate the public on the importance of the country’s land, history and environment, in addition to the encouragement of international and regional exchange of arts. In addition, the park is meant to commemorate the victims of the first Gulf War. (1,2,3)

Photo 3
https://www.greenroofs.com/projects/al-shaheed-park/

Overview

Nature-based solution

  • Blue infrastructure
  • Lakes/ponds
  • Nature on buildings (external)
  • Green roofs
  • Green walls or facades
  • Parks and urban forests
  • Large urban parks or forests

Key challenges

  • Climate action for adaptation, resilience and mitigation (SDG 13)
  • Climate change adaptation
  • Environmental quality
  • Air quality improvement
  • Green space, habitats and biodiversity (SDG 15)
  • Habitat and biodiversity conservation
  • Green space creation and/or management
  • Cultural heritage and cultural diversity
  • Preservation of natural heritage
  • Social justice, cohesion and equity (SDG 10)
  • Environmental education

Focus

Creation of new green areas, Maintenance and management of urban nature existing green areas

Project objectives

The Al Shaheed Park is at ground level in the middle of a densely built-up area and a network of bustling roads that criss-cross the park. His creation was very much conditioned by the necessity of a green space that could counteract the hot and arid temperatures in the Persian Gulf. The goals of the intervention are: 1. To provide shade and windbreaks, facilitate soil conservation, improve the landscape's aesthetic beauty, and provide habitats for birds and other small animals. 2. To protect the city from sandstorms and to reduce air pollution. 3. To promote and educate the visitors about the importance of environmental sustainability - to promote awareness and educate the public on the different ecosystems and the effects of pollution on the land. 4. To protect indigenous vegetation and ensure its survival. 5. The park is seen as a response to dry climate weather, reducing desertification and global warming. (1,2,3,4)

Implementation activities

The park was developed in 2 phases. Between 2013 and 2015, approx. 220,000 m² of parkland were developed during Phase I which included wonderful botanical gardens and walkways for strolling, lakes with fountains and a waterfall, Thekra, the historical museum and Habitat, the environmental museum, sculptures, visitor centres and, of course, restaurants and souvenir shops. In addition to the green roof of the underground car park, virtually all the roofs of the buildings mentioned above are greened – together approx. 31,000 m². An additional 135,000 m² of parkland was added between 2016 and 2017 during Phase II of the project. There is an amphitheatre, a multi-functional event venue and an exhibition area for architecture (miniature depiction of the old and the new Kuwait) between the green areas, the walkways and the water areas. The many buildings with their green roofs highlight the ecological character of the park. Above all, the parkland with its water features, musical fountain, miniature Old Kuwait and New Kuwait miniature with video mapping intended for all ages. The different types of elements can all be installed on the 24,000 m² roofs of the underground car park, which is the focus of this technical report. (1)

Climate-focused activities

Climate change adaptation:

  • Implement measures that prevent/manage desertification, soil erosion and landslides
  • Increase or improve urban vegetation cover to help reduce outdoor temperature
  • Implement green walls or roofs to lower indoor temperature and provide insulation
  • Increase the use of climate-resilient plant species (resistant to drought, fire, and pests)

Biodiversity conservation or restoration-focused activities

Biodiversity conservation:

  • Protect and enhance urban habitats
  • Preserve and strengthen existing habitats and ecosystems
  • Reduce negative impacts and avoid the alteration/damage of ecosystem
  • Protect species
  • Undertake specific measures to protect species
  • Undertake specific measures to protect native species
  • Means for conservation governance
  • Raise public awareness
  • Public engagement
  • Capacity building

Main beneficiaries

  • Local government/Municipality
  • Citizens or community groups
  • Young people and children

Governance

Management set-up

  • Co-governance with government and non-government actors

Type of initiating organisation

  • National government
  • Non-government organisation/civil society

Participatory approaches/ community involvement

  • Dissemination of information and education

Details on the roles of the organisations involved in the project

The intervention has roots in early 2012 when one of Kuwait's rulers, the Emir Sheikh Sabah Al-Ahmad Al-Jaber Al-Sabah (1929-2020) desired to revamp and reclaim a former green area that dated back to 1964. The intervention itself was developed by Al Diwan Al Amiri (a civic organization) and managed by Loyac (Lothan Youth Achievement Center), and the park was constructed in four successive stages, from 2013-2017. (3) The permission of the Municipal Council was needed but from the point of view of involvement the main work was conducted by Loyac and Al Diwan Al Amiri. (5)

Project implemented in response to ...

... an EU policy or strategy? No
... a national policy or strategy? Yes (The park is part of the Kuwait National Cultural District, a multibillion-dollar project that includes the Middle East’s largest opera house, museums, theatres and galleries located along the Gulf coast. KNCD aims to restore Kuwait's position as a cultural hub for the region. The project is also part of the Kuwait National Development Plan (4,5) )
... a local policy or strategy? Yes (One of the sources mentions that the plan of the park had its ideas in the First Master Plan of the Kuwait city, approved in 1952, a plan that discussed green spaces for the city. The plan was not a green plan but an urban development one, responding to needs related to the city's expansion at that time. As years went by other plans were considered by the municipality, but this particular plan from 1952 is worth mentioning as it established the idea of the park, per se. (4))

Financing

Total cost

More than €4,000,000

Source(s) of funding

  • Public national budget
  • Public local authority budget

Type of funding

  • Direct funding (grants, subsidies, or self-financed projects by private entities)

Non-financial contribution

No

Impacts and Monitoring

Environmental impacts

  • Water management and blue areas
  • Improved water quality
  • Reduced risk of damages by drought
  • Green space and habitat
  • Increased green space area
  • Reduced biodiversity loss
  • Increased number of species present

Economic impacts

  • Attraction of business and investment

Socio-cultural impacts

  • Cultural heritage and sense of place
  • Protection of natural heritage
  • Increased sense of place identity, memory and belonging
  • Increased awareness of flora and fauna as culturally and historically meaningful
  • Education
  • Increased knowledge of locals about local nature
  • Increased awareness of NBS and their benefits

Type of reported impacts

Expected impacts, Achieved impacts

Presence of formal monitoring system

Yes

Presence of indicators used in reporting

Yes

Presence of monitoring/ evaluation reports

No evidence in public records

Availability of a web-based monitoring tool

No evidence in public records

References

Photo 1
https://landezine.com/al-shaheed-park/
Photo 2
https://www.greenroofs.com/projects/al-shaheed-park/
Photo 5
https://zinco-greenroof.com/references/al-shaheed
Photo 4
https://zinco-greenroof.com/references/al-shaheed
Information about this nature-based solution was collected as part of the UNA global extension project funded by the British Academy.