Urban planner Ahmed Bukhash calls for sustainably designed outdoor spaces in Dubai
Recent developments in Dubai are proving that well-designed spaces can offer a viable outdoors leisure option for people, despite the city’s notoriously high summer temperatures.
Dubai residents are being lured out of airconditioned shopping malls by the city’s spanking new alfresco recreational districts such as La Mer, Al Seef and City Walk.
“Just because we have very hot weather for half of the year, it does not mean that if we create well-designed spaces, people will not use them,” said Ahmad Bukhash, director of urban planning at the Dubai Creative Cluster Authority and speaker at the first Urban Design & Landscaping Summit, which takes place this November in Dubai.
The new focus on urban landscaping goes well beyond recreational districts.
“Rather than just focusing on a building in isolation, Dubai’s future developments will increasingly invest in urban design and interconnectivity,” announced Bukhash. “It’s time to scrap the stereotype of Dubai as a city living and breathing exclusively during the cooler months. The trend is now changing.”
Heat can be controlled with good urban design elements and building placement. Factors such as wind flow, sun and light must be taken into consideration in the planning phase, Bukhash explained.
“Electricity spends for airconditioning in Dubai can be considerable; costs must and can be cut down through proper urban and architectural design. Properly designed outdoor public and shaded spaces can actually reduce temperatures by up to 10°C.”
Urban design is therefore going to play a growing role in the development of the city. “This vital paradigm shift will transform Dubai to make it an accessible, walkable city all year round,” Bukhash predicted.
Several projects, like the latest ones developed by Meraas, are stimulating the demand for shading devices as well as high-end street furniture, hardscaping and softscaping materials in the UAE so that outdoor spaces become an extension of the interior spaces.
The first Urban Design & Landscaping Expo (UDLE) will run alongside The Big 5 international construction show from November 26 to 29, at the Dubai World Trade Centre.
The event will display the most innovative solutions for the construction and maintenance of urban and green spaces, sports grounds and playgrounds, from around the globe. The UDLE will also host the high-level Urban Design & Landscaping Summit on November 28, gathering some of the most prominent local and international experts in the field.
Josine Heijmans, portfolio event director of UDLE, said: “There’s been no better time to invest in the urban design and landscaping sector in Dubai. We are excited to offer a brand new platform for industry professionals to connect, network, do business and learn. We are also extremely proud to support the further development of much needed green and outdoor spaces in the region.”