Director General of Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council, Falah Al Ahbabi
The Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC) has been awarded at the highly acclaimed 2011 International Society of City and Regional Planners (ISOCARP) Awards for Excellence. The UPC’s Public Realm Design Manual (PRDM) received an Award for Excellence in the “District Planning/ Urban Design” category.
Commenting on the award itself, Eng. Amer Al Hammadi, Director of Planning and Infrastructure at the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC) commented: “Receiving this Award from an internationally recognised organisation clearly asserts the excellence of the manual, and the expertise the UPC is demonstrating in developing guidelines and masterplans that can be adopted Emirate-wide to improve the quality of life for residents.”
“As a key initiative undertaken by the UPC, the manual is one of the core guidelines applicable across all of the UPC’s projects, ensuring safety and comfort, preserving heritage and culture, and improving accessibility and connectivity for all of Abu Dhabi’s communities.
Launched by the UPC in April this year, in close cooperation with a number of Government Agencies, including the Department of Municipal Affairs, PRDM lays the foundations for the Emirate’s future vision in accordance with the guiding principles of Abu Dhabi’s Urban Vision 2030. The manual conceptualises a consistent ‘world’s best practice’ approach to the planning and designing of the public realm and is based on key policy and design principles that address core themes such as liveability, identity, access, connectivity, place-making and design excellence, environmental stewardship, inclusivity, activation, shared ownership and implementation. These principles will support the decision-making process and the achievement of long-term measurable results, whilst ensuring that the development of public spaces is in line with the established vision of raising the profile of Abu Dhabi as a truly sustainable, liveable and accessible Emirate.
The award was given to the UPC last night at the award ceremony on the occasion of the 47th ISOCARP Congress in Wuhan (China). Explaining its decision for having made PRDM the winner of its category, a spokesperson representing the jury said: “As we learned from the different keynote speeches and workshop case studies, public realm is the key for liveable cities. The Design Manual focuses on this important and more upcoming discussion on public realm. The location and amount of all forms of public parks and locations is effectively dealt with. The Public Realm Design Manual is done in an excellent way, highly illustrated and makes its point very well”.
By promoting public realms that emphasis on the physical character, readability, social integration, adaptability of spaces, and pedestrian scale, PRDM provides a unique opportunity to protect existing valuable assets whilst ensuring that new spaces further enhance Abu Dhabi’s urban environment and lays the foundation for developing Emirate-wide linked parks and open spaces. The PRDM has been designed to integrate seamlessly with all of the UPC’s existing policies, such as the Estidama sustainability guidelines and the Urban Street Design Manual.
PRDM was also recently recognised by the Canadian Institute of Planners with a 2011 Honourable Mention in the category of Urban Design. The Canadian Institute of Planners honours planning projects judged on their excellence, innovation, impact on the profession, implementation potential and overall presentation.