Dubai in need of urban masterplan, says EGBC chairman

Call for move away from icons, to greater interconnection between disparate areas.

Dr Sadek Owainati.
Dr Sadek Owainati.

Dubai urgently needs an urban masterplan in order to promote sustainable growth throughout the emirate and combat urban sprawl, a sustainable design expert said last week.

Speaking at the Building Sustainability into the Middle East conference on May 29 in Dubai, Dr Sadek Owainati, founder and chairman of the Emirates Green Building Council, said that the introduction of an urban masterplan was essential to improve the environmental sustainability of Dubai. "Green homes and green buildings are only part of the solution for a green neighbourhood," he said, referring to the October 2007 mandate enforcing green building construction in Dubai. "Icons can put us on the map, but we really need to develop the rest of the city."

"At present, we lack the indicators and indices we need," he added. "We need transport information. Dubai urgently needs an urban masterplan." Part of this masterplan should include provision for ‘green belts', areas that should be left free from development, he suggested.

At the event, which was organised by Commercial Outdoor Design sister publication Construction Week, Owainati called for the elimination of what he termed ‘disconnected neighbourhoods' - areas of development that are designed and constructed with little thought given to how the area connects its surroundings - and for more thought to be given to the creation of a ‘smart growth' city.

"Smart growth revitalises cities, and promotes more sustainable forms of transport such as walking and cycling," he said.

Other speakers at the event included Stephen Miller, managing director of design firm Fxfowle, Michael Nates, senior general manager for sustainability, health and safety and environment at Nakheel, and Khaled Awad, director of property development at Masdar.

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