As part of its ongoing efforts to gain firsthand experience on internationally recognized urban planning strategies and methods and sharing best practices with peers, a five-member, high-level delegation from Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC) recently visited the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA), Singapore's national land use planning and conservation authority.
The visit of Abu Dhabi Government Delegation, led by His Excellency Falah Mohammed Al Ahbabi, General Manager of UPC, discussed plans for future planning and sustainable development strategies in Singapore and exchanged best practices related to green policies and incentives, zero energy building and the Singapore land use planning system.
Highlighting the importance of the visit to the Urban Redevelopment Authority, which is part of ongoing collaborations between the Abu Dhabi and Singapore governments, H.E Falah Al Ahbabi said, 'As the planning authority responsible for the Emirate's urban development, we strive to create benchmark urban planning policies and initiatives that are closely integrated with land use, infrastructure and transportation solutions. Our visit to Singapore provided us with the ideal platform to explore and identify opportunities and cooperation to exchange best practices in urban planning and sustainability that continue our efforts to develop a sustainable Arab Capital for the next generation.'
His Excellency Falah Al Ahbabi and the UPC officials visited Singapore's City Gallery. Spanning three floors, City Gallery offers an exciting, multi-sensory learning experience into Singapore's planning journey. The delegation also visited the Building Control Authority which highlighted interesting similarities with the Estidama Pearl Rating System. As with Estidama, the program developed by the Singapore authority is mandatory in selected areas and developers that comply receive a bonus of additional GFA in their approvals.
Under the ambit of the Vision 2030, the UPC delegation briefed the URA officials on the key objectives of Vision 2030 that have laid the foundations for benchmark regional master plans that recognize and respondto cultural, socio-economic and spatial diversity. The plans lay the foundation for sustainable urban built forms and infrastructure systems that result in complete communities throughout the Emirate.
The URA is committed to improving the quality of life, ensuring transparency and striving for sustainability at the core of all projects and urban development initiatives. The Singapore government has clear objectives for the development of the City that requires a review of the master plan every 10 years to adjust to demographic changes. The current plan addresses the planning needs of the current population of 5.1 million people and the needs for the projected growth to 6.5 million.
During the visit, H.E Falah Al Ahbabi took the opportunity to discuss with Singapore officials the concept of "resilience" that is becoming a hot topic for many capitals in today's uncertain world. Whether it be economic, social, cultural or environmental, resilience is essential for cities like Singapore or Abu Dhabi to ensure continued operation and efficiency so remain attractive places to reside, visit or do business. To address this concern, the Singapore's Urban Redevelopment Authority has presented its multi-stakeholder, integrative and consultative approaches that integrate the economic, socio-cultural and environmental dimensions of sustainable development and, as UPC is doing under the overarching principles that drove Abu Dhabi Vision 2030, identify, prioritize and understand the synergy among these elements.
Commenting on the visit, Al Ahbabi added: "We return back to Abu Dhabi with many ideas for future collaboration. We have noticed a lot of similarities in the way to approach the strategic role of the urban planning disciplines between the Singapore's Urban Redevelopment Authority and the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council. Our constructive debates asserted the links between strategic spatial plans and land use management while highlighting and confirming the perfect correlation between urban plans and broader institutional visions ".
At the end of the visit, H.E. Falah Al Ahbabi expressed that he looks forward to welcoming a visit by the URA delegation to Abu Dhabi to showcase the Emirate's Abu Dhabi Urban Vision 2030.