Over the next four years, Dubai government entities will come together to launch major design initiatives in various fields to improve the quality of living for residents.
On Sunday, the Dubai Municipality (DM) announced that the city has become the first in the Middle East and 24th in the world to be appointed a UNESCO Creative City of Design.
Joining the UNESCO Creative Cities Network (UCCN), Dubai launched the Four-Year Design Initiative 2018-2021 that will involve five key projects towards placing creativity at the heart of development plans and cooperating actively at the international level.
Hajar Al Saffar, head of the Partnership Section at DM, said the government will redesign current services or develop new innovative services that will benefit society segments with major focus on people with determination, children and the elderly as part of Design and Innovation for Public Service Transformation initiative.
Among the key initiatives is also a Dubai National Design Center that will attract experts and designers from all over the world to exchange knowledge and create new projects.
Dubai Institute of Design and Innovation (DIDI) will attract 35,000 students worldwide to design and innovate in all aspects of life, besides infrastructure and building design.
The Dubai Creative City of Design Council will be formed among partners to suggest and apply ideas, accredit projects and view improvements, while a four-year Dubai Design and Innovation Festival will incorporate different projects on the ground and attract international talents and conferences.
Design and creativity will be incorporated in all aspects of life, including transport, health, culture and infrastructure. The initiatives will be accompanied by numerous exhibitions, conferences, workshops, promotional tours, seminars and competitions.
Dawood Abdulrahman Al Hajiri, DM's director general, said the civic body will work closely with different government entities including Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), Dubai Executive Council, Dubai Culture and Arts Authority, and Community Development Authority to develop an integrated design plan.
He said that the design is the process of finding creative solutions to problems in order to improve lives.
"Design is beyond the product. Rather, it is the framework by which problems are solved. It puts people and their needs first to convert trash into energy, improve quality of life, increase sustainability and promote happiness," said Al Hajiri.
Dubai is now among 72 locations that joined the network, covering creative fields such as Art & Craft, Design, Film, Literature, and Media Arts.
Al Hajiri said selecting Dubai came after a UNESCO assessment that showed the city scoring in all requirements needed in infrastructure, architecture, and art among other fields.
"Innovation and creativity has been part of the government's strategic plan for sustainable urban development even before we get selected," said Al Hajiri, pointing out unique Dubai projects like Dubai Design District, Dubai Water Canal and the design of the metro and tram.
Meanwhile, Al Saffar said the government's vision of make Dubai the smartest city in the world, utilising talents from different segments and creating the right environment for the youth were all factors behind the selection. "The city ensures that sustainable development goals in creativity and innovation are met in every field. The selection will make design a factor in all projects," said Al Saffar.
'Design starts with prepping the future generations'
Mohammed Abdulla, chairman of DIDI, said the institute will train school graduates on innovation. "To develop, we have to prepare the next generation to be involved in creative thinking, problem solving and all aspects of design," said Abdulla.
He added that the institute will help Dubai expats and residents under-stand design with in its aspects and apply it to different disciplines of life. Education is a pillar towards understanding innovation, he noted.
KT NANO EDIT
By grand design
Dubai is a land of superlatives, one that has made a mark on the global front with its visionary approach to urban planning. It has pushed boundaries and dared to think out of the box, and has emerged as a model city in the region. The latest endorsement by Unesco is a celebration of Dubai's vision and work.
By Sherouk Zakaria
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