Keeping pace with change in Ajman
Northern Emirates on the agenda: In this series
February 15: Sharjah clears road to progress
February 17: Lack of services holding UAQ back, residents say
February 19: Residents conflicted over changes in Fujairah
AJMAN // Improved roads, more international brand stores and restaurants and fewer traffic jams are some of the ways life has improved for people living in Ajman in recent years.
However, despite the rapid and continuing development of the emirate and its infrastructure, the changes that have taken place cannot be compared to the likes of Dubai, or even Sharjah, say residents who are happy their home remains rooted to its traditional Emirati culture and a slower, more conservative way of life.
“There is a big difference and no comparison [between Dubai and Ajman], it is just that you are comparing Miami with Ajman,” said Abdullah Mohammed. “You can feel the traditions more, Dubai is international, multicultural, and open. Ajman is multicultural but it is not at a higher level as Dubai and Abu Dhabi.”
The 30-year-old Ghanaian Islamic studies teacher, who was born in Ajman, said the most impressive change can be seen in the emirate’s skyline.
“The changes are awesome, like towers commanding a sea view with an awesome architectural design, but the thing I like most is the beach. Before, it did not have all of these cafes like Caribou and Krispy Kreme.”
However, the pace of building these high rises has been so fast in places that the infrastructure, including essential utilities such as power and water, have not been able to keep up, resulting in some towers being dependent on exterior generators for electricity.
Khatib Hamid said that despite being modern and safe, having to rely on diesel generators was expensive and dirty.
“This is the only problem that I can see, but for other things all is good and everything I need is available in Ajman,” said the Sudanese man, who works at Hamiryah free zone.
Officials at the Federal Electricity and Water Authority said the problem with providing electricity to new buildings in the emirate was close to being resolved and it was putting in place the necessary infrastructure.
Early last year, the Sheikh Humaid bin Rashid Bridge and the new Al Nuaimiya Bridge were opened at a cost of Dh135 million in a bid to ease congestion.
Named after the Ruler of Ajman, Sheikh Humaid bin Rashid Bridge eased travel for motorists heading to and from Sharjah and Dubai, while Al Nuaimiya Bridge was for drivers heading to the Northern Emirates.
Mr Hamid added that since the new bridges were opened the emirate’s traffic problems have all but disappeared.
“Now the traffic in Ajman is normal and not that much.”
Emirati policeman Ibrahim Rasheed said Ajman has changed “180 degrees” in recent years, with improved roads, better buildings and a much improved university.
“Its space was small but now it is modern and big from all sides,” said the 28-year-old former student at Ajman University of Science and Technology.
“There is a vast difference between Dubai and Ajman,” he said.
“Dubai is big and has more tourist attractions such as towers and malls, but Ajman is a small emirate and has only Ajman City Centre.”
Updated: February 15, 2015 04:00 AM