UPC's executives during the press conference
Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC) today unveiled the urban structure framework plan for the Shahama and Bahia region, known as Shahama and Bahia Revitalisation Master Plan.
Incorporating the guiding principles of Plan Capital 2030, the Shahama and Bahia Revitalisation Master Plan is the first area master plan unveiled by the UPC with an aim to enhance and revitalize, in a sustainable manner, the existing communities while managing immediate and long term growth of this region. It has been formulated encompassing the feedback from Abu Dhabi Municipality and Department of Transport as well as a series of workshops and meetings with relevant governmental and non-governmental agencies and the inputs garnered from a community event organised in Shahama.
The master-planning area is divided into two separate planning areas; Coastal Bahia located on the coast and Bahia and Shahama intersected by highways. The main components of the plan call for a robust open space framework, a clear neighbourhood retail centres approach, a neighbourhoods and communities revitalisation strategy, and a transportation framework.
Shahama/Bahia is located between Abu Dhabi and Dubai. The overall planning area consists of an approximately 1,770 hectares and houses almost 27,000 inhabitants, a large population of which is Emirati nationals.
The master plan for Shahama and Bahia provides a long term vision towards the year 2030 and beyond for the expansion of the Shahama area in a controlled and planned manner to ensure that the needs and culture of Emirati people are respected, the environment is protected and enhanced and that the area is well connected to its surroundings.The overall project also encompasses development requirements based on the UPC’s policies and guidelines such as the coastal development guidelines, Urban Street Design Manual, the Public Realm Design Manual and Estidama.
“Our approach towards the formulation of Shahama/Bahia master plan was very meticulous and comprehensive. Detailed site visits to the area, along with several workshops and design sessions with expert planners were organised for the formulation of this plan, which is aligned with the Vision 2030 and is aimed at preserving Abu Dhabi’s national identity, culture and heritage as well as its stature as the Capital of the UAE,” said H.E Falah Al Ahbabi, General Manager of Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council. He further added “As community’s interests and concerns lie at the heart of all UPC’s endeavours, a comprehensive community involvement programme was implemented in order to ensure a sustained involvement of key members of the community in the entire planning process.”
The approach for the planning of Shahama and Bahia was based on a thorough engagement with the Abu Dhabi Municipality, local people and relevant consultees to ensure that the aspirations of the local community can be met by those responsible for the implementation of development, facilities, infrastructure, utilities and other services.
As part of a week long charrette with the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council, a Community Day was held in Shahama, where 140 participants, community members and volunteers took part. The day was organised around open discussions and workshops with local people and stakeholders to learn more about the challenges and opportunities for the Shahama area.
Detailed site visits were undertaken to photograph the on-site conditions, compare site conditions with site plans with large scale aerial photographs to calculate the dimensions of public spaces. Public space quality linked with the landscape context remains a priority that influences every level of the master plan, from the house -to the street- to the neighbourhood to the entire community. This sense of place and neighbourhood defines a clear public space hierarchy by combining a strongly articulated pedestrian realm that connects a central park and community facilities. Workshops and extensive design sessions were subsequently undertaken to discuss and refine the design concept and develop the Master Plan.
“The community involvement exercise implemented by UPC for the formulation of this masterplan is in tune with our sustainability initiative, Estidama, which aims to inspire and increase citizen’s involvement by identifying the key motivations driving people to interact with the Abu Dhabi 2030’s sustainable vision to improve community, environmental, social, economic and cultural responsibility, “ commented Al Ahbabi.
The Shahama and Bahia Revitalisation Master Plan primarily has five key themes:
Town Centres: Creation of new centres with transport hub and new retail development
Housing Typology: Transform systematic and functional housing areas into vibrant, living communities with informal pedestrian networks, densified courtyard typologies and a strong sense of place relating to local culture, climate and contemporary life-style.
Coast: Redefined coast and new communities facilities to densify under-developed areas and create beachfront homes
Connectivity: New streets and public transit to connect the communities and shaded walkways to connect residents with amenities
Sustainability: Urban Design, architectural principles, landscape design and a water, energy and irrigation strategy
These themes of the Shahama and Bahia Master Plan have several key layers. Land use, community facilities, residential, landscape and environment, parks, transport, utilities and centres are some of these layers which form the building blocks of the master plan.
The overarching aim of the Shahama and Bahia Master Plan is to implement the objectives of Plan Capital 2030 and to meet Estidama’s sustainability guidelines. The implementation of the master plan requires cooperation and coordination amongst Abu Dhabi Government entities, stakeholders and the residents.
“Today as we come back with the revitalisation master plan to develop a complete community that respects the past and resembles the future, Shahama and Bahia become case study for livability sustainable for the next generation. Among our key priorities is to provide easy access to vital community amenities like shopping, health facilities, entertainment and sports centers and educational hubs, all of which are the core focus of this master plan.” concluded Al Ahbabi.
For more information about Shahama and Bahia Master Plan, kindly visit UPC’s website: www.upc.gov.ae.