Abu Dhabi's UPC unveils new strategy

Body also greenlights 22 projects including a childhood development centre, Repton Abu Dhabi extension and Al Falah community mall

His Excellency Falah Al Ahbabi, chairman of Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council
His Excellency Falah Al Ahbabi, chairman of Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council

Abu Dhabi's Urban Planning Council (UPC), which is responsible for approving major projects in the emirate, announced that it had also given the green light for 22 projects in the first quarter comprising around 700,000m2 of space.

These included a Centre of Excellence in Early Childhood Development and an extension to the Repton Abu Dhabi Senior School on Reem Island, allowing it to acommodate 1,480 students.

Also at Reem Island, it approved a proposal for a new tower, Al Noor Tower, containing 73 apartments.

On the mainland, it approved a new two-level, 30,000m2 community retail mall for the Al Falah community near to the international airport, and in the Western Region it gave the green light for a new project containing 73 villas at Madinat Zayed.

The UPC, which has been responsible for developing masterplans for Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, the Western Region and maritime ares, also announced a new strategic plan for 2016-2020 and unveiled a new vision and mission statement which highlighted its role as managing "sustainable urban growth of the Emirate by creating Emirate-wide urban strategies, master plans, policies and regulations".

HE Falah Al Ahbabi, the UPC’s director-general, said: “The UPC has come a long way since its inception in 2007, and as our plans, policies and guidelines are regularly being revised and updated, so must our vision and mission to bring them in line with our Strategic Plan for 2016-2020.”

“This was an intricate process that involved many stakeholders, including our employees, to ensure everyone understood why we were revising our vision and mission, and what it means both internally and to the people of Abu Dhabi. We believe it now clearly explains the UPC’s role and what we do as we move towards Vision 2030.”

Mohamed Al Khadar, executive director for Urban Development, told Construction Week that the council had seen an uptick in the number of proposals being submitted to it for approval since the second quarter of 2014.

Last year, the UPC approved 76 projects, including 14 masterplans. This year, it has already given detailed approval for 22 projects.

“I know there are more in the pipeline that have already gained concept approval that will go in Q2 or later on in the year,” he said. “I would presume that by the end of the year we would have 85-90 projects approved.”

He expects that much of this will take place on the ‘islands’ of Yas, Reem, Al Maryah and Saadiyat as the city extends its reach outwards.

The UPC's announcement was made on day one of the Cityscape Abu Dhabi event, which is running from 21-23 April at Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre.


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