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Abu Dhabi's UPC unveils Baniyas-South Wathba master plan

posted on 25/07/2011: 1198 views

Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC) yesterday unveiled the Baniyas-South Wathba Revitalisation Master Plan. Developed by the UPC, in close coordination with Abu Dhabi Municipality (ADM) and key stakeholders, the Baniyas-South Wathba Master Plan covers the areas of Baniyas, South Wathba and Al Nahda, one of the oldest Emirati communities in the UAE.

The Master Plan is aligned with the principles of both Vision 2030 and the Capital 2030 Urban Structure Framework Plan and aims to revitalise Baniyas-South Wathba to create a sustainable, vibrant and complete community. Currently, 69,000 residents live in Baniyas-South Wathba, with over 7,000 existing homes across an area spanning 6,500 hectares, according to UPC in an emailed press release.

The overarching concept of the Baniyas Revitalisation Master Plan is to focus on creating a sense of community. This will be achieved by developing a hierarchy of district, neighbourhood and local centres to provide services for existing and future residents. Integrated community facilities and a range of public spaces will ensure residents have easy access to amenities. The concept of mixed use activity centres plays an important role in the revitalisation strategy. Furthermore, streetscapes throughout the community will be revitalised to provide well-connected, safe and comfortable routes for walking and cycling. The community will be serviced internally by public transit along with new regional connections, to facilitate safe and convenient local movement networks and establish the best conditions for economic growth and social inclusion.

New plots for Emirati housing will be allocated and existing homes will be revitalised to improve the quality of housing to meet the needs of the residents. The concept for the new Emirati housing types has been driven by a courtyard lay-out within a traditional ‘fareej' neighbourhood design concept that is both environmentally and culturally sustainable. This new type of urban fabric provides the community with a new sense of place and restores and promotes the richness of traditional Arab living in a contemporary form.

As highlighted by Falah Al Ahbabi, General Manager of the UPC, The Revitalisation Master Plan forms a key part of Abu Dhabi Government's ongoing commitment to coordinate and manage urban growth within Abu Dhabi's Mainland. His Excellency comments: "Our leadership's commitment reflects the importance of the suburbs as a key area for the city's Emirati population growth over the next 20 years. Baniyas-South Wathba remains one of the largest and most ambitious opportunities for sustainable urban revitalisation in Abu Dhabi. The UPC is ensuring that the creation of a cohesive urban fabric will provide the opportunity for communities to be transformed into vibrant living areas, with a strong sense of belonging and coherence." Coupled with the protection and rehabilitation of environmental values and resources throughout the community, the climate responsive housing designs will contribute to the overall sustainability objectives of the master plan.

The Baniyas-South Wathba Revitalisation Master Plan is designed to contribute to the enhancement of the economy and social environment of the Mainland. The plan aims to promote a prosperous living environment and increased economic activity. It also demonstrates that existing communities can be effectively revitalised through the implementation of transportation, community facilities and housing options while building on the existing social fabric and infrastructure framework.

"Baniyas-South Wathba comprises some of the Emirate's oldest housing communities with their own individual characteristics. The successful integration of these communities with the emerging Metropolitan Area is a key focus of our Revitalisation Master Plan and an important precondition for the successful realisation of Vision 2030.

This explains why we, in partnership with ADM, are addressing key themes such as the quality of the public realm, community identity and social cohesion alongside the importance given to the development of infrastructure, as the physical and social challenges of urban growth physical are intertwined. This requires an integrated, long-term approach to revitalisation so that we build complete and sustainable communities" Al Ahbabi added. - Emirates News Agency, WAM


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