A sustainable, eco-friendly downtown masterplan has been announced for the UAE Capital. The ‘walkable’ project, which will be completed by 2030, is designed to allow residents live a healthier lifestyle when it comes to dining, retail and entertainment, instead of being confined in a closed space such as hotels and shopping malls.
Hrvoje Cindric, ME Urbanism Leader, Arup, spoke to Khaleej Times about the master-project, on the sidelines of the Future Landscape and Public Realm UAE Conference on Monday, supported by the Abu Dhabi Municipality.
Cindric highlighted that Abu Dhabi residents are urging for more walkable entertainment areas, noting that Dubai “is pushing the agenda and has become a walkable city,” referring to Downtown Dubai and The Walk at JBR.
He said the new project for the Capital therefore thinks of the future ahead, which is why the focus was to create an entertainment hub designed for a healthy environment and healthy residents.
“The whole idea is to make Abu Dhabi more walkable. The project is a peninsula designed beautifully, it has water on three sides and dimension wise – it’s perfect – because it’s 10 minutes walking wise.”
The UAE is certainly moving effortlessly towards a sustainable, greener future, which is why residents in the Capital can look forward to 2030.
“Sustainability isn’t something we question, everything we do is meant to be sustainable. Five years ago JBR The Walk, which we also worked on, would have just been another closed shopping mall. That trend of indoor space is diminishing and outdoor spaces are growing.”
Cindric noted that the key to going green is getting people out of their cars. “A walkable city means we will have less pollution in the air and healthier residents. We are designed to walk, we are made to walk and we have to walk.”