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High demand for mixed-use developments in the GCC

Community living in the GCC is increasing as developers and authorities push ahead the development of mixed-use project

Michael Connor is an associate director with Faithful+Gould in the Middle East.
Michael Connor is an associate director with Faithful+Gould in the Middle East.

There has been an increasingly high demand for mixed-use developments and communities in the GCC, mainly the UAE, Oman, Qatar, and Bahrain.

Real estate developers have stepped-up the development of communities that offer schools, healthcare facilities, shopping, and leisure and dining options in the neighbourhood to residents.

Project and programme management consultancy, Faithful+Gould’s, associate director, Michael Connor told Construction Week that there has been an upward trend in the design and planning of mixed-use communities.

He said: “Developers and authorities are favouring mixed-use developments, versus single typology, creating integrated places to live with proximate recreation options and civic facilities. This approach fosters connectivity between people and places, enabling stronger social cohesion.

“We have seen changes in the retail sector too, for example, with the convenience factor fuelling demand for community malls, this smaller community-based provision is a response to the large number of recently completed housing developments, catering for residents' daily grocery and necessity shopping.

“They offer a convenient alternative to the larger malls, avoiding a long drive and potentially lengthy walking routes around the mall itself.”

Connor also pointed out that the GCC countries are each following an established national vision to diversify their economic base and maximise the potential of their people.

“The link between [GCC governments’] targeted economic sustainability and the need for investment in education, healthcare, law and order, culture, and recreational facilities is well recognised in each country.

“However, the current status generally remains, although, one of strategy development and master planning, with essential construction commitments only.”

He further added: “GCC countries continue to face internal societal issues as they seek to modernise and become more progressive, while also retaining balance with important traditions and heritage. Regional differences are reflective of this strive for balance and aim to reflect each country’s roots.”

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