x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Urban planning body establishing institute

Urban planners and developers may share the city's vision but need to talk to each other more to learn how to achieve it.

Urban planners and developers may share the city's vision but need to talk to each other more to learn how to achieve it, the Urban Planning Council believes. It will soon open an institute to help. Abu Dhabi's ambition to become sustainable, pedestrian-friendly and cosmopolitan should be understood by everyone, said Fouad Kassem, spokesman for the planning council.

The Abu Dhabi Institute for Advanced Urban Planning will continue the work of the Contemporary Urbanism Forum, which concluded yesterday. "No matter how good ideas are, when they are only shared among a few people, they can be fleeting," Larry Beasley, the Canadian urban planner and architect of the Abu Dhabi 2030 Plan, said at the forum. "You need belief in those ideas, then they become robust; they become part of the indigenous culture.

"Human values are a high priority in the building of this city. The young, enthusiastic, well-educated Emirati nationals here are the people to take the great ideas for the new city forward. You have a great responsibility." Forum participants included planners from UPC and private developers including Reem, Al Qudra and Mubadala. Yasmeen al Rashedi, a planner, said: "Having developers participate in this was so important because it changed their mindsets."

Muna al Dhaheri, an Adar engineer, said it was important for developers to have a line of communication and education with planners. "For us as developers, we will work on one part of the city and not know what is happening in another part. But Abu Dhabi is developing so quickly, developers really need to know more about urbanism so that we can make our projects better." Ms Rashedi said one of the biggest challenges for planners in Abu Dhabi was persuading Emiratis to integrate with people from other countries.

"We need mixed communities. We need to build more Emirati parcels within the city, not just outside the downtown," she said. "But we need more education to make this kind of change successful. And not just for the planners. For the people, too." jhume@thenational.ae