Sports Boulevard Masterplan by

2024 Other / Built in 2024 /

Project Statement

Riyadh, Saudi Arabia’s capital, is home to 8 million people. In 2016 there was no transit, no sidewalks, and one public park – a restored wadi on the city’s western edge. 

That year the 2030 Vision Plan was launched to transform the socio-cultural and economic future of Saudi and create “a vibrant society, a thriving economy, and an ambitious nation.” Step one was to elevate the quality of life in Riyadh by investing in culture, recreation, and the public realm. 

The Sports Boulevard began as a recreation project, connecting two wadis with a continuous cycling path across an oversized utility corridor. We have since evolved it into an ambitious green infrastructure project serving the cultural, social, and economic transformation of Riyadh.



Saud bin Muqrin Road was a utility corridor, carrying massive electrical lines, water, and storm drainage across the city. It ranges in width from 175m to 250m and includes an 8-lane highway. It was the largest barrier in the city, with only 8 crossing points across 30km. The Landscape Architect set a vision for change along this corridor 6 years earlier on a different project, suggesting the powerlines could be buried to create new public space and improve land values. Maintaining relationships with City leadership, the Landscape Architect assembled a team of engineers, architects, public artists, and mobility planners to win and lead this unprecedented master plan commission.


The team was inspired by Madrid Rio, an ambitious infrastructure transformation to public space; but the cultural context was very different. Our analysis included extensive time on the ground meeting with government agencies, residents, artists, developers, and national leaders. This yielded the following context:

  • Riyadh suffers from crushing, inefficient traffic perpetuated by dated modeling and ongoing induced demand (by building more highways)
  • Over $30B invested in state-of-the-art transit scheduled to open in 2024, with no corresponding investment in micro-mobility
  • 60% of Riyadh population was under 30 years old
  • Pent-up demand for public space
  • Emerging culture of sports, recreation, and wellness
  • Major desire to attract and retain youth and talent
  • Demand for new housing typologies and 15-minute city living
  • 30km corridor with complex edge conditions anticipating rapid change
  • Outdated standards for urban development
  • Other emerging grand projects focused on tourism and iconicity


Sports Boulevard emerged as a park for the people – an equitable investment in Riyadh focused on quality of life. The team developed a mobility plan for connectivity, rather than capacity, adding fluid access across the corridor. Lanes were reduced and space was given to bikes, pedestrians, and recreation. Utilities were buried and diverted, creating development sites for over 25 million sq. ft. of new housing, office, and hospitality. A series of “Iconic Destinations” added arts, culture, and sports venues to the corridor. Character zones formed around these destinations, each drawing programmatic inspiration from adjacent neighborhoods. The high-quality public realm provided connectivity, with an emphasis on local, contextual design.


  • 900+ acres of new urban park for recreation and wellness
  • Riyadh’s first fully accessible, shared-gender recreational spaces
  • 120,000 new trees; 2.6 million kg of carbon sequestration per year
  • 100% recycled irrigation water
  • 65% reduced travel time between neighborhoods
  • 765 new pedestrian connections across a previously impassable highway
  • 25 million sq. ft. of private development, activating the park and funding operations


This landscape architecture led masterplan was approved with enthusiasm by the nation’s leaders and a $5 billion investment fund was established to bring the Sports Boulevard Park and public realm into reality. This Park is now being identified as the largest linear park in the world. The plan is actively under implementation, with detailed design for Phases 1 and 2 complete (also led by the Landscape Architects) and under construction. Over 1.5 million people will live within a 10-minute bike ride when complete.

Collaborators: Typsa, Eldorado, Toole Design Group, H3 Studio, HR&A Advisors

Location: Riyadh, Saudi Arabia

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LILA 2024 Sponsor