x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 27 July 2017

Why the old Abu Dhabi address system can work with the new one

As a lifelong citizen of Abu Dhabi, Mohamed Al Neaimi said he can find his way to any building, in any street, in any sector and zone thanks to a system he believes is actually the most user-friendly possible.

Mohammed Al Neaimi, strategy manager at Abu Dhabi Media, has created an online, step-by-step guide for city residents. Paul O’Driscoll / The National
Mohammed Al Neaimi, strategy manager at Abu Dhabi Media, has created an online, step-by-step guide for city residents. Paul O’Driscoll / The National

ABU DHABI // Give Mohammed Al Neaimi any street code in the city and he can crack it.

As a lifelong citizen of Abu Dhabi, Mr Al Neaimi said he can find his way to any building, in any street, in any sector and zone thanks to a system he believes is actually the most user-friendly possible - and better than its planned replacement.

In his opinion, the old and the new address arrangements should complement each other.

"If I told you Abu Dhabi city has the most sophisticated yet most user-friendly address system in place, you might say that if it was as simple as I claim, how come nobody is using it?" he said. "Many products have failed to appeal because of bad or no marketing, and this is the case with Abu Dhabi's addressing system."

Mr Al Neaimi said that when the current system was introduced, there was little or no education and he believes the naming process was not attractive. He thinks blocks and postcodes should have been used, rather than zones and sectors.

Despite this, he said the format removes "communication challenges" in a multicultural, multilingual city because there is no need to describe buildings or rely on road signs.

"It is based on numbers - every building, house, street, block and area in Abu Dhabi has a unique number," he said. "I would pronounce a name one way, somebody from the Philippines or India might pronounce it differently, but 17 is 17. If somebody is lost in Abu Dhabi, they do not have to spell a name."

He added: "I think the new system can be named in parallel to the old one, as some streets already have names, and if naming is introduced it would be good to put the numbers in brackets alongside.

"They can work together and the current system does not have to be cancelled, because it means there is no need to guess spelling or refer to a map to find a street or building."

JBell@thenational.ae

* To see if Mr Al Neaimi can find any building in Abu Dhabi using just a code, log on to www.thenational.ae/multimedia