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Looking forward

With its rows and rows of tower blocks, the city of Dubai can sometimes appear to be a built-up and unfriendly place to live.

Al Zorah Development Company Limited, COMMENT, Design

With its rows and rows of tower blocks, Dubai can sometimes seem a built-up and unfriendly place to live.

Which is why it is good to see that in the designs of the future, more open and green spaces are being incorporated.

Wandering around Cityscape Abu Dhabi last week, I noticed that most of the models of planned developments - although not all - included significant amounts of greenery, walkways, and squares.

Our miniature replicas were seen strolling along shaded walkways, stopping to chat with friends and acquaintances, or sitting at pavement cafes. What is on offer in the future UAE is a truly outdoor lifestyle.

Developers I spoke to confirmed that open space is becoming more important in community planning.

"Our philosophy is space making. We like to build cities to human scale. [This approach] comes from considering the lifestyle of people. We have to give them space. We have to give them space to live, to enjoy without being overcome by buildings," Mounib Hammoud, executive director of Solidere International Limited, joint developers with the government of Ajman on the US$59.8 billion Al Zorah development, told Commercial Outdoor Design at the event.

The benefits of a greater outdoor lifestyle for the individual are obvious: more social interaction, more opportunities for walking, and, as a consequence, better health.

For developers, there are commercial benefits too with garden views or views of open space a key selling point in property.

Which makes the inclusion of more outdoor space a win-win situation for all.

Michele Howe is the deputy editor of Commercial Outdoor Design.

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