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5th Community Lecture 2010 Sustainable Urban Development

Published June 30th, 2010 - 12:08 GMT
Al Bawaba
Al Bawaba

It is often said that the first rule of sustainability is to align with natural forces, or at least not try to defy them. EEG believes that this is true, and adopting sustainability as the only way forward, is imperative if we are to preserve the natural assets of the planet.
Sustainability has become, to some extent, a ‘buzz’ word in today’s society, and it has become easy to claim that one is being sustainable by simply reducing the amount of paper used, or recycling the odd water bottle here and there. But is the UAE really doing enough to become a global leader in the sustainable field in a ‘larger than life’ sense? Mr. Saeed Alabbar, a sustainability consultant at Halcrow International Partnership, unraveled the picture so far in the GCC region at EEG’s 5th Community Lecture, on the 29th June 2010.
Held in the Emarat Atrium at 7.30 pm, guests from all backgrounds arrived, but in particular business and industry representatives showed a keen interest. As per tradition, the evening commenced with light refreshments and then Mrs. Habiba Al Marashi, EEG Chairperson, spoke briefly about what sustainability means to EEG and how EEG contributes to ensuring that the UAE is increasing its sustainable efforts every day. EEG’s contribution to this national challenge is mainly through the ongoing Waste Management & Recycling Programmes.
She then introduced the key note speaker for the evening, Mr. Saeed Alabbar, who is currently involved in some of the largest urban development projects in the region. Mr. Saeed Alabbar began by mentioning how the Middle East has been named as having one of the largest carbon and ecological footprints in the world. He elaborated by placing this fact into context by mentioning it is over 6 times the global sustainable level.
Keeping the audience engaged, Saeed continued with some interesting facts and mentioned that buildings and road transport account for over 65% of the worlds green house gas emissions. With this information out in the open, Saeed iterated how it is important to take a closer look at the regions sustainable urban development strategy in its entirety, so that it is possible to assess and address pressing environmental issues such as climate change and carbon emissions.
Saeed shared a number of specific case studies that he had worked on, which included finalising new initiatives in the GCC region in relation to sustainable urban development, but also revisited the traditional design approaches and how they can be applied today and should not be ignored.
With participants eager to hear what the construction industry can bring to aid sustainability in the UAE and Arab region, the evening ended on an extremely positive note, with the assurance that urban development is not taken lightly, especially in the ‘aftermath’ of the economic crisis. Saeed built confidence into the audience by lastly mentioning how the recognition for the environment and sustainability is very much at the forefront of new projects, but also embedded in the core design and strategy.
Mrs. Al Marashi, then thanked Saeed for such an interesting presentation and in true EEG tradition presented a crystal of appreciation to Mr. Alabbar, as a gesture of thanks for partaking in EEG’s lecture series.
EEG would also like to share its appreciation and thanks to Emarat Atrium for providing the venue and Abela Catering for providing the light refreshments for the evening.

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