Women of Arabia: Shaping cities through culture and Innovation: an Arab women’s perspective

Urban Talks (Hall 5)

A vibrant cultural scene and an innovative environment are drivers for change; they shape vibrant cities and attractive urban environments that foster social transformation, democracy, citizenship and economic investment. Several countries are harnessing the power of culture to boost the image of their cities, create new narratives or highlight existing ones, thus managing to improve the wellbeing of their citizens and their cities’ experience. By the same token, they are providing increased space and opportunities for diverse forms of expressions by the youth.

Urban growth in several Arab States countries has been going hand in hand with culture-driven initiatives, often led by creative and visionary women and men. From art biennales to cultural labs, from youth start-ups to cultural heritage conservation and reuse, culture and innovation also provide crucial means for recovery in conflict-affected countries, and for the reshaping of societies. This Urban Talk is dedicated to exceptional Arab women who help shape vibrant cities and provide space for reflection and transformation, in particular to the youth. 


3 speakers will each show an image to showcase an experience/make a statement/make a strong case about their own contribution to transforming their own urban environment into a more vibrant one, thanks to culture and/or innovation.


  •  Tala Khalid Hadrawi - Al Ula Royal Commission - KSA
  • Souad Abderrahim, Mayor of Tunis, Tunisia 
  • Représentative of MASDAR, UAE
Guiding Questions
  • How does cultural life shape a city’s experience?
  • How does creativity weigh in addressing urbanization challenges today?
  • How can innovation and creativity enable young people to shape the future of their cities?
  • Can a vibrant cultural scene effectively enable social, economic or environmental transformation in cities?
  • Can sustainable urbanization be achieved on a cultural “tabula rasa”?
  • How do creativity and innovation foster women empowerment in cities?

Session Speakers