GCC focuses on sustainable projects says report

Sustainable development is an increasing priority for GCC countries according to an industry report.

Management consultants Ventures Middle East has compiled a “GCC Focus on Sustainability in Construction” survey which states governments have acted in the past three years to embrace sustainable construction through education and legislation, creating business demand for “green” development.

The report says increased spending on social infrastructure and efforts to improve living standards and use outdoor space more effectively are also driving the construction market and boosting outdoor projects. It looks closely at projects in Saudi Arabia and Qatar

“Sustainability is becoming more and more important to the Saudi market, we are seeing dramatic changes in how developers approach the market and how outdoor space is used,” said Robb Marinko, ‎Landscape Architecture Manager at Dar Al Riyadh Architecture and Design Services.

“We are trying to create outdoor environments that are comfortable for people to visit, places where people are comfortable to sit, children are free to play and where you have given a reason for people to come and use that public space.”

Environmental sustainability has also become a key issue for Qatar, according to the report. It says that social infrastructure projects have been given significant allocations in the country’s budgets to ensure that Qatar upgrades in every sphere to raise the standards of living of its citizens in accordance with its Vision 2030. This includes increasing the provision of resources such as public parks and making a more appealing public realm.

However the survey comes hard on the heels of a report which found the region was lacking in sustainable cities in comparison with Europe.

Dubai was named as the most environmentally-friendly city in the Middle East – but across the world it only came 33rd out of 50.

Abu Dhabi was ranked one place below with Doha at 41, Jeddah at 43 and Riyadh at 44.

Consultancy Arcadis’ Sustainable Cities Index ranked 50 of the world’s most prominent cities by looking at their environmental progress, viability as a place to live and financial stability. Frankfurt in Germany was voted top with UK capital London in second place.