Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council Organises First Public Charette Session for Al Ain’s Central District
In its ongoing efforts to implement the recommendations of Plan Al Ain 2030, the urban structure framework plan for Al Ain, Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC), the agency responsible for the future of Abu Dhabi’s urban environment and the entity behind Plan Abu Dhabi 2030, recently organised first public Charette sessions for the revitalisation of Downtown Al Ain.
The Charette session for downtown Al Ain witnessed the UPC team of urban planners present an outline of the proposed community facilities for a diverse population including utility, transportation, parking strategies, landscape, courtyard (housing concepts) and mixed use community with affordable and luxury housing opportunities for locals and expatriates.
The downtown revitalisation plan for the oasis city of Al Ain emanates from the Central District Plan, a key component of Plan Al Ain 2030, which is currently being developed by the UPC together with variety of partners. The Central District Plan shall resolve the district level structure, establish guidelines for new development and provide recommendations for several transportation and infrastructure modes to ensure the ongoing sustainable development of downtown Al Ain and surrounding neighbourhoods. The key objective of the project is intended to advance the recommendations of Plan Al Ain 2030 and foster towards implementation.
“As we are now taking steps to realise the ambitious Plan Al Ain 2030, I am glad that we have now completed a crucial aspect of the implementation phase by organising the first public Charette session. The people of Al Ain are the most important stakeholders and these sessions were aimed at understanding their civic and community needs, which will be subsequently incorporated into the Central District Plan” said H.E Falah Al Ahbabi, General Manager, Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council.
Al Ain’s Central District has traditionally been the nerve centre of the city’s business activities and the historic heart of this contemporary and growing city. It is not only the home of Al Ain Oasis, but is also the mainstay of many historic buildings of Al Ain. The Central District Plan process which will soon be concluding will be conducted in collaboration with various government agencies including strong participation with Al Ain Municipality, the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage (ADACH) and the Department of Transportation (DOT).
The proposed plan for the Central District of Al Ain, when complete, will include tools to be used by all government agencies in encouraging new construction in downtown Al Ain. This will ensure that all new buildings not only represent the highest standards but also preserve the unique design characteristics special to Al Ain.
“The Central District will be of paramount importance to not only Al Ain but the entire United Arab Emirates and we at UPC have set into motion a comprehensive process in order to prepare a detailed plan for the Central District. The overall goal of the Central District Plan is to enhance the existing assets of downtown Al Ain towards creating a beautiful, vibrant, and unique world-class public realm incorporating major cultural venues adjacent to Al Ain Oasis, that is fully functional for all types of residents, workers and visitors”, added Al Ahbabi.
The recommendations of the Central District Plan shall apply to the principles expressed in Plan Al Ain 2030 to ensure that the future development will include an appropriate balance of residential, retail, office and community facilities to ensure that downtown Al Ain remains a regional core. UPC’s planning efforts will reinforce the low-scale nature of Al Ain and will ensure that future buildings will incorporate the highest quality architectural and urban design principles.
Improving the navigability and streetscape within each of Central District’s eighteen communities by creating a transportation network that balances multiple modes will also be one of the key objectives for the Central District Plan. The Plan will also include basic designs for new regional train service into downtown Al Ain, improved pedestrian transportation through the area’s sikka network, and an environmental sustainability agenda consistent with Estidama, the sustainability initiative managed by the UPC.
“Our objective is to make a difference for the coming generations of Al Ain by designing structures that can enhance sustainable social, cultural, environmental and economic aspects of the city. For us, heritage means a past with a vision”, concluded Al Ahbabi