Architect: Dubai should not just be for the rich

Low-mid income earners need to be taken into consideration when projects are being discussed, says senior architect

Issam Ezzedine, National Engineering Bureau principal design architect
Issam Ezzedine, National Engineering Bureau principal design architect

The image of Dubai as a destination for rich people has to change with a greater emphasis on provision for those on lower wages and a more encompassing public transport system.

That is the view of National Engineering Bureau principal design architect Issam Ezzedine, who called on greater connectivity in masterplanning and more backing for public housing and community events.

“It’s about changing the perspective of Dubai,” he said. “At present it is viewed as a place for rich people – for tourists to come and shop. But what about those on the lower incomes, the labourers, those in the service industries? Even teachers – they are not on high wages. They cannot all go out and shop.”

Ezzedine said these people – vital to the running of any society – must be taken more into consideration when projects are being discussed.

“These people are just living – they are not saving, they are not going out and spending,” he said.

“In fact – they are not enjoying life.”

The answer, according to the architect, is to create more public facilities.

“Places for recreation need to be far more prevalent,” said Ezzadine. “And it’s not just about parks. Towns squares, where people can gather, with low cost theatres would be a solution. And public amphitheatres. The Municipality could focus on providing some entertainment which is available to all.”

Affordable homes are also a factor which must be taken into consideration when new projects are undertaken, he said.

“We need to build communities where rent values are linked with wages,” said Ezzedine. “If you earn 15,000 dirhams a month you need to have somewhere to live which allows you to have some spare money – to save or to spend, which means you are putting something back into the economy so everyone benefits.

Public transport in another factor which must be included in planning, said Ezzedine.

“Any individual project must take into account the infrastructure,” he said. “It’s like the stomach and the heart – if they are not properly connected the body will refuse to work. Roads, bus provision and metro connectivity they must all be taken into account when buildings are being proposed. A policy could be put in place which states that developers cannot start work until the infrastructure has been put in place.

“We all love Dubai, so we must make sure it is not a place which caters only to the rich.”

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