Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC), the agency responsible for the future physical planning of Abu Dhabi recently organised the first technical Charette session for the Eastern Region of Abu Dhabi. Under the ambit of Vision 2030, the Charette session, organised by the UPC marked the beginning of the process for creating the 2030 regional structure framework plan for the scenic Eastern region.
A Charrette is an intensive, creative, and collaborative session which brings together participants from a multidisciplinary team consisting of urban planners, designers, architects and landscape architects, engineers and other field experts to engage local government representatives and stakeholders. The purpose is to enquire into a pre-defined series of issues and challenges of importance to the various stakeholders through a program of discussion, workshops and interactive design.
A Charrette will typically last for up to one week with a period of preparation beforehand followed by documentation of the findings. The technical Charette session for the Eastern region will be followed by a comprehensive community involvement programme, which will be implemented in order to ensure sustained involvement of key members of the community in the entire planning process.
Presiding over the technical Charette session at Eastern region, H.E Falah Al Ahbabi, General Manager, Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC) said “Eastern Region 2030 must be a plan for strengthening the quality of life for everyone living and working in the villages throughout the region for which we will focus on identifying appropriate ways of incorporating community facilities and retail centres to serve the community of this region”.
“Given the fact that the Eastern Region is very close to rapidly growing cities, including Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and Dubai, there will be substantial pressures on the Eastern Region in coming years. These challenges will be addressed in the Eastern Region 2030 Plan. However the preservation and enhancement of the environmental and cultural heritage of the region will remain the cornerstone of the structure framework plan” added Al Ahbabi
Eastern region of Abu Dhabi Emirate surrounds the oasis city of Al Ain and contains approximately twenty villages , most of which range in size up to over 10,000 people. The UPC, which has in the recent past unveiled comprehensive masterplans for other regions of the Emirate including Abu Dhabi, Al Ain, Capital City District etc, is working on developing the Eastern Region Plan 2030 along with the Eastern Region Development Council (ERDC), Al Ain municipality, Department of Transportation, Environment Agency of Abu Dhabi and Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage.
The Regional Structure Framework Plan for the Eastern Region will be a principal milestone in Abu Dhabi’s urban planning process. The formulation of the Eastern region framework plan will mark the completion of masterplans for every part of the Capital including Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and the western region of Al Gharbia. Similar to other frameworks, the Eastern Region 2030 plan will complement the already introduced Plan Al Ain 2030.
The Emirati residents of the Eastern region continue to retain strong familial bonds; however the population of these villages has grown to be much diverse due to the increase in the number of residents from different countries. The Eastern Region of Abu Dhabi does not possess any oil and gas reserves as is the case with Al Gharbia. The region is however characterised by agricultural uses and expansive, beautiful sand dunes throughout the region. As one of the key objectives, the Eastern region 2030 will take into account the different needs of these residents.
Key development issues which included growth of smaller communities, creation of new infrastructure and industry, development of community facilities, preservation of geographical integrity, outlining of plot patterns, vector of growth analysis, and most importantly the protection of natural eco system were discussed during the first technical Charette for the Eastern region. The identification of appropriate ways of incorporating community facilities and retail centres to serve the region’s villages also constituted an integral aspect of the Charette discussions.
In line with Estidama, which means ‘sustainability’ in Arabic and is Abu Dhabi’s contribution to the global discussion on how to create more sustainable communities, cities and global enterprises, the Eastern region Plan 2030 will be founded on key environmental, cultural, social and economic sustainability principles. The Eastern Region 2030 framework plan will establish the roadmap for economically productive, environmentally sustainable communities with a high quality of life.
As environmental sustainability will be the mainstay of the Eastern Region Plan 2030, the technical Charette primarily focused on defining a clear vision for the region, which sets it on a course that enhances the quality of life in its villages while also protecting its environmentally and culturally sensitive features. The plan is also expected to begin identifying appropriate ways of incorporating community facilities and retail centres to serve the various villages throughout the region.
The community involvement exercise implemented by UPC for the formulation of masterplans is in tune with Plan Abu Dhabi 2030 which aims to inspire and increase citizen’s involvement by identifying the key motivations driving people to interact with the Abu Dhabi’s sustainable vision to improve community, environmental, social, economic and cultural responsibility.
“Each community in the Emirate is distinct in its own vision. At UPC, we understand and acknowledge the distinct cultural and environmental ethos of each region and hence have always aimed at creating masterplans that not only preserve these precious elements but also imbibe the urban development process that is aimed at creating the authentic Arab Capital of the world” concluded Al Ahbabi.
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