Building sustainable, mixed-use developments in the UAE


 The Middle East has a unique set of challenges and opportunities with regard to creating large, mixed-use developments. In this interview, Louise Adams, Aurecon’s former Country Manager United Arab Emirates (UAE), describes the importance of investing in master planning, some of the current opportunities and trends within this region, as well as some of the solutions and innovations Aurecon is leveraging in order to create efficient, liveable spaces. Adams discusses the push for sustainable projects, the importance of planning and how cross-interdisciplinary stakeholders need to work together to achieve liveable, efficient developments.

Is there a big push towards large, mixed-use developments in the UAE and what is the current situation with regard to creating these developments?

While many of the world’s large cities are space constrained in their push to the meet the needs of increased urbanisation, the UAE has, for the past 30 years, provided a blank canvas full of greenfield sites for the realisation of large-scale, mixed-use developments.

With these empty greenfield sites, you are able to start from scratch. In Europe and other mature markets, there are other challenges such as existing land ownership, possible contamination issues, etc. In the UAE, however, there is more flexibility in terms of urban planning and the vision that can be created for such sites, which gives us the opportunity to be innovative when deciding the vision for large, mixed-use developments.

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