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Al Bateen marina development includes 4km sea view promenade

Seaside area lined with restaurants and shops will put the capital among the best waterfront cities in the world, says Urban Planning Council.

ABU DHABI // The development of Al Bateen, the original dhow harbour and shipbuilding area of Abu Dhabi, will put the capital among the best waterfront cities in the world, according to the Urban Planning Council (UPC). The UPC, which is responsible for shaping the city's urban look and feel, said the main goal of its Bateen Waterfront Framework Plan was to provide community access to the water's edge.

As the coastline is almost fully developed, there are fewer and fewer places to "experience the water", which is a key link to the UAE's seafaring heritage, the UPC said. Historically, Al Bateen is the capital's original dhow harbour and shipbuilding area of Abu Dhabi and a spokesman with the council said yesterday: "We want people, residents and visitors to experience that. All cities with significant shorelines have great waterfront. We want Abu Dhabi to be among the best waterfront cities in the world."

Vital to the plan is the development of a 4km-long promenade for jogging, cycling and strolling, lined with restaurants, shops and refreshment kiosks. "Anything we can do to encourage people to get out of their cars and use their feet will be a great lifestyle benefit," said the spokesman. The UPC added that the Bateen area would be "especially well served" once the Dh3billion (US$817 million) light rail project gets under way.

Links from Bainuna Street and surrounding neighbourhoods to the waterfront will be indicated in the Bateen Waterfront Framework Plan. The landscaped routes would have street art and benches. Falah al Ahbabi, the general manager of the UPC, said the new guidelines would "provide continuous open public access at the water's edge for people of all ages and abilities". @Email:mkwong@thenational.ae

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