Dubai is growing at such a fast pace that its infrastructure cannot keep up, according to Hussain Nasser Lootah, assistant director general of building and planning for Dubai Municipality. Lootah was addressing more than 100 industry leaders at MEED’s 2nd Major Project Developments in Dubai conference.
The population of the emirate has grown at an average annual rate of 6.4 per cent while the number of cars on the road by 10 per cent each year, as opposed to an international average of 2 to 3 per cent.
Lootah said: “Projects in Dubai are so fast-moving that the infrastructure, including the roads, public transport, and utilities cannot keep up.”
The Dubai government has spent a total of $2.5 billion on the city’s network of roads up to the end of 2004, covering an ever-increasing total of 9,600 kilometres.
“It is not the lack of roads that is necessarily the problem, but the general mismanagement of the travelling system,” said Lootah.
“Driver behaviour is a major issue, with many households using more than one car, and employees commuting to work daily from other emirates. As an example, 250,000 cars make the journey between Dubai and Sharjah every day.”
Lootah revealed Dubai Municipality’s plans for a traffic control centre, providing intelligent information for drivers to avoid high congestion areas and accidents.
He also outlined Dubai Municipality’s move to increase environmental awareness in the city. At present, there are 25 square metres of green area per capita in Dubai (correct until 2012), which represents 3.4 per cent of Dubai’s total urban area. The government has set targets to raise this to 8 per cent.
Commitment to the environment is one of the government’s areas of focus, he said, pointing to measures installed to measure air quality, medical and hazardous waste, and oil spills.
Dubai’s population, recorded at 1.1 million at present, could reach 4 million by 2017.
Meanwhile, Dubai Municipality gave an overview of new areas under development, including Jadaf, a mixed-use area covering residential, commercial and hotels to be developed by Dubai Holding.
Also under development are Al Raas and Deira Sea Corniche, as well as the 1,100 hectare University Village with residential campuses along the main Emirates Road artery.
Lootah said: “As the city spreads, the old industrial areas need further development, which is why we are looking at them now.”
The second MEED Major Projects in Dubai Conference is on at the Mina A’Salam, Madinat Jumeirah in Dubai, on December 6 and 7. Already confirmed as sponsors are Nakheel and Cadillac.