The new face of social infrastructure for the GCC
Vision 2021 is becoming more visible through social infrastructure projects driving the UAE’s economic development
Al Ain’s $187m (AED687m) Al Hayer project, which was announced in October 2019, is one of many examples recently that show the positive direction that the UAE’s social development programmes are heading towards.
Designed in line with the Emirati neighbourhood concept, the residential project comprises 300 residential villas and uses sustainable practices in its design. The development is part of the Abu Dhabi Housing Authority’s plans to develop more housing projects for Emirati people, and is based on Abu Dhabi Government strategy’s to implement the best international practices in the construction of government housing projects.
As part of the project, areas for commercial and social purposes, in addition to a 2,700m2 mosque with a capacity to accommodate 1,071 people has also been constructed.
Another major social infrastructure development taking shape in Abu Dhabi, aligned with government policies to provide world-class urban services, is Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City, which is being touted as the UAE’s largest hospital.
The 30ha hospital will partially open to the public on 3 November 2019 and Phase 2 of the development will take place towards the end of the current year or beginning of the next year, UAE state news agency Wam reported.
Sheikh Zayed Housing Programme (SZHP) is also an important organisation driving social infrastructure in the UAE. Established in 1999, the initiative will provide suitable housing for UAE nationals and their families.
The programme aims to offer housing assistance services such as grants and loans, as well as options to build, purchase, maintain, or expand a house according to approved standards.
SZHP has approved 522 housing assistance applications, including housing loans and grants, worth $111.6m (AED410m) for UAE citizens in Dubai, Ajman and Ras Al Khaimah.
The UAE’s social infrastructure programmes are among the GCC’s most prominent such projects, and as ASGC – Knowledge Partner of this Special Report on Social Infrastructure – says, supporting these projects must be a priority for construction organisations.
Vice president and executive director of ASGC, Abdulaziz Bin Shafar, tells Construction Week: “We are a key player in the UAE’s drive to develop the social infrastructure required to sustain a diversified nation that is as loyal to its proud heritage, as it is ambitious for the future.” (page 38)
As the commitment to delivering high-quality social infrastructure deepens in the UAE and beyond, the region’s economic goals look set to be achieved.