Press Release

Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council
1. Mandate for Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council
Vision 2030: Brand Perspective
UPC Team
2. Strategic Role of Urban Planning
Strategic Role
Unique Urban Planning Principles
Development Review Process
Lifestyle Impact
3. Regional Structure Framework Plans
Plan Capital 2030
Plan Al Ain 2030
Al Ain downtown revitalization
Eastern Region 2030
Plan Al Gharbia 2030
Capital City District
Shahama & Bahia Revitalisation
Khalifa City A&B
4. Key urban development initiatives
a. Urban Street Design Manual
b. World Sustainable Capital (WSC) initiative
c. Coastal Development Guidelines
1. Mandate for Abu Dhabi Urban
Planning Council (UPC)
The Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council was created by Emiri Decree number 23 of the year 2007
and is the agency responsible for the future of Abu Dhabi’s urban environments, and the expert
authority behind the visionary Plan Abu Dhabi 2030 Urban Structure Framework Plan published
September 2007.
Chaired by His Highness Sheikh Mohamed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and
Chairman of the Abu Dhabi Executive Council, the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council defines
the shape of the Emirate, ensuring factors such as sustainability, infrastructure capacity,
community planning and quality of life, by overseeing development across the city and the
Emirate as a whole. The Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council ensures best practice in planning for
both new and existing urban areas.
The Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council’s primary purpose is to deliver upon the vision of His
Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the UAE, Ruler of Abu Dhabi for the
continued fulfilment of the grand design envisaged by the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al
Nahyan and the ongoing evolution of Abu Dhabi as a global capital city. By drawing on urban
planning expertise locally, throughout the GCC and around the world, the UPC strives to be a
global authority on the future of urban planning and design.
Developing appropriate infrastructure, while preserving the environment, forms one of the key
priority areas for Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council. With its expertise, the government ensures
equitably distributed economic activities and the development of a professionally designed and
well-managed urban environment in the Emirate’s towns and cities complete with world-class
transportation systems.
“We need to look back at our steps, adjust our
actions accordingly, plan for our future with
hearts full of faith and a clear will, coupled with
enlightened thinking, in order to perfect our
march, and achieve for our people all that we
hoped for.”
The Late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan
Our Vision
While Capital 2030 clearly aims to manifest Abu
While Capital 2030 clearly aims to manifest Abu Dhabi’s role and stature as a capital city, it also
aims at enhancing Abu Dhabi’s urban fabric and community infrastructure, which will enable
the values, social arrangements, and culture of the Emirati communities to be preserved. The
aim is to implement innovative and sustainable urban planning techniques to support and
energise projects that are incorporated into the Emirate’s diversification and development
However, Vision 2030 has not been designed to only achieve the needs of Abu Dhabi in 2030
alone. Phased development will result in improvements and new developments being seen
across Abu Dhabi over the coming years and the strategic design of both the utilities and
transport infrastructure will ensure growth can continue beyond 2030 and into the next century.
In 2008, the leadership of Abu Dhabi seized upon the principles imperative for sustainable
development, recognizing that the unique cultural, climatic and economic development needs
of the region required a more localized definition of sustainability. Through Estidama, the UPC is
developing a body of regulation and guidelines with the objective of placing Abu Dhabi at the
forefront of sustainable development.
Estidama is first and foremost, an aspiration – the desire to achieve a sustainable way of living. It
is an overarching way of viewing all aspects of our life based on four pillars: environment,
economy, society and culture, to ensure that its sustainable goals and aspirations are well
rounded. It reflects the values of the UAE and seeks to preserve, restore, promote and enhance
Abu Dhabi’s physical, environmental and cultural identity.
Our Mission
The Urban Planning Council produces plans and development regulations that govern Abu
Dhabi’s physical environment. In alignment with the clear targets identified by the Economic
Vision 2030, the Council manages the Emirate’s sustainable urban growth through efficient
development review and proactive implementation in coordination with the public and private
sector partners.
Plan Capital 2030 is establishing a clear vision for sustainability as the foundation of any new
development occurring in the Emirate and capital city of Abu Dhabi. This commitment is a
reflection of the values and ideals of our nation. Abu Dhabi has fully embraced the concept of
urban master planning and is mapping out its future in a structured way, an initiative which is
unique within the MENA region.
Vision 2030: Brand Perspective
Vision 2030: A new identity to represent the Abu Dhabi Emirate’s Urban Development
Reflecting the dynamism and substance of this unique ‘Next Generation Planning’ mindset, the
creation of an Abu Dhabi Vision 2030 brand identity brings together all the elements of this
innovative approach, allowing the UPC to communicate the full scope of the plan to the Emirati
The word ‘Vision’ is incorporated into the brand and reflects the visionary guidance of
government initiatives. The new brand is also endorsed by the Brand of Abu Dhabi and
complements its added value. The choice of colours illustrates the confluence of Abu Dhabi’s
marine and desert environments, emphasising sustainable and controlled development policies
within the plan that will preserve the Emirate’s physical and cultural identity. Staying true to Abu
Dhabi’s culture and heritage, the Arabic typeface used in the ‘Vision 2030’ brand reinforces Plan
Abu Dhabi 2030’s vision to create an authentic Arab city. The contemporary design of the
lettering illustrates its forward-thinking focus and the UPC’s foresight to plan.
Although created by the UPC, this new brand will be owned by the people of Abu Dhabi, it will
become an inspiring image of its collective vision for a harmonious, diversified, culturally rich,
stable and sustainable society. With people at the forefront of everything the UPC does, the
identity will be a symbol of a future environment that everyone can contribute to and be proud
UPC Team
His Excellency Falah Al Ahbabi,
General Manager, Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC)
Falah Al Ahbabi is the General Manager of the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC) in the
United Arab Emirates. In this role, he oversees the management and implementation of the
comprehensive urban structure framework plans – Plan Abu Dhabi 2030, Plan Al Ain 2030 and
the soon to be launched, Plan Al Gharbia 2030, in coordination with both the public and private
Falah Al Ahbabi was also one of the key individuals responsible for establishing UPC in 2007 and
since then he has played a critical role in shaping the organisation, which today boasts of a full
time strength of 130 qualified professionals.
As the agency responsible for the present and future of the emirate’s urban environments, the
UPC ensures best practice in planning for both new and existing urban areas. In his capacity as
the General Manager of this special agency, Al Ahbabi ensures that it fulfils the important role of
facilitating dialogue on urban planning matters among individual entities of the Government,
and between the Government and private sector. Successfully delivering coordination across
government and cooperation with the private sector is seen as central to the achievement of
the Plan Abu Dhabi 2030 vision.
Before moving into urban planning affairs, Al Ahbabi worked in the aviation and
telecommunications industries where he played a vital role in working with the Mubadala
Development Company to establish the first helicopter academy in the Middle East, as well as
launch a satellite to serve the region. Al Ahbabi also has relevant experience in the privatization
of government services, and international experience in utilities.
Al Ahbabi holds a degree in Management from the California State University.
Saood Al Junaibi
Director, Review Development and Urban Design,
Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council
Saood Al Junaibi is the Director of Review Development and Urban Design at the Abu Dhabi
Urban Planning Council (UPC). He is also a senior spokesperson of Abu Dhabi's sustainability
initiative, Estidama, which means ‘sustainability’ in Arabic, and is Abu Dhabi’s contribution to the
global discussion of how to create more sustainable communities, cities and global enterprises.
In his role at UPC, Al Junaibi oversees the Council’s objective to plan and regulate urban growth
and development in Abu Dhabi, particularly the implementation of the guidelines and principles
laid out in the government’s Plan Abu Dhabi/Al Ain / Western Region to achieve the highest
levels of livability and sustainability.
Saood holds a Bachelor of Engineering from the University of Toledo, Ohio, USA and an MBA from
South Eastern University, USA.
Al Junaibi has in his previous roles, held various senior management positions and has thus
gained valuable commercial and management experience.
Jody Andrews
Director Capital District Development,
Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council
Jody Andrews joined the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council in June of 2009 as Director of the
Capital City Development, a government led initiative to create a sustainable modern Arab
capital in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
Mr. Andrews has a long history of managing large, sustainable projects and organizations. Most
recently, he held the dual role of Deputy City Manager for the City of Vancouver, a city of
600,000 on Canada’s west coast, as well as that of Project Manager for the Southeast False
Creek development, the most sustainable development of its size in North America.
The Capital District Development is one of the most prestigious and highly acclaimed projects
undertaken by the Abu Dhabi Urban planning Council. The Capital District sits at the core of the
Plan Abu Dhabi 2030 urban structure framework and is a crucial component of the Emirate’s
vision to preserve Abu Dhabi’s national identity, culture, and heritage as well its stature as the
Capital of the UAE.
The masterplan for the 4,900 hectare Capital City District was earlier inaugurated by H.H Sheikh
Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown prince of Abu Dhabi, Deputy Supreme Commander
of UAE Armed Forces and Chairman of the Executive Council at Cityscape Abu Dhabi 2009.
The Capital City District will serve as a second downtown for Abu Dhabi proper and will be home
to 370,000 residents who will dwell in a mixed-use, sustainable environment comprising highdensity transit-oriented communities and lower density Emirati neighborhoods.
Michael White
Senior Planner,
Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council
Michael has been a Senior Planning Manager with the UPC since October 2007, and has led
many planning initiatives including the 2030 framework Plan for Al Ain, new district plans ex:
Capital City District and North Wathba along with revitalization plans for existing communities,
including Downtown Abu Dhabi
He is currently leading the 2030 planning framework for Al Gharbia, and development
regulations for Abu Dhabi Island along with a number of new development policies including
Development Code, Affordable Housing Policy, Community Amenity Policy and an Industrial
Land Strategy.
Michael has in the past worked on a variety of planning initiatives in Canada. He has led
projects for the planning of industrial areas, rapid transit, and the implementation of
Neighbourhood Centres.
Michael holds a Master of Science in Planning from the University of Toronto and a Bachelor of
Arts from the University of British Columbia in Canada. He is also a Member of the Canadian
Institute of Planners.
2. Strategic Role of Urban Planning
Strategic Role
The Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC) initiates, drives and supports Abu Dhabi’s urban
development strategy and ensures the development of a professionally designed and wellmanaged urban environment in the Emirate’s towns and cities, complete with world-class
transportation systems. The UPC also implements best practice in planning for both new and
existing urban areas.
The UPC liaises with other government departments, including the Environment Agency, the
Department of Transport, Abu Dhabi Education Council, the Abu Dhabi Municipality and utility
providers to discuss relevant development proposals and to co-ordinate a central, considered
response to infrastructure demands.
The advent of an urban plan for Abu Dhabi is intimately tied to His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin
Sultan Al Nahyan, the late President of the UAE and Ruler of Abu Dhabi. The creation of the UPC
represents a significant evolution in the approach to planning and the assertion of the role of
leadership in Abu Dhabi. The landmark Plan Abu Dhabi 2030 Urban Structure Framework Plan
paved the way to grow and take advantage of the economic opportunities at hand without
sacrificing the best of the City’s inherent cultures and customs, yet adding new elements to
enable Abu Dhabi to evolve into a truly global capital. This document was released at the same
time as the UPC was formed and covers Abu Dhabi Island and the surrounding mainland.
The UPC has, over the past two years, responded to the need to plan for the whole of the
Emirate of Abu Dhabi and has therefore re-branded Plan Abu Dhabi 2030 as ‘Capital 2030’,
which sits alongside the two other visionary regional structure framework plans of Plan Al Ain
2030, which currently covers Al Ain City but will in future also include the wider Al Ain region and
Plan Al Gharbia 2030, which will cover the western region.
Once the two urban structure framework plans and the two regional structure framework plans
have been released, these will be merged into an overall Plan Abu Dhabi 2030 Vision strategy
which provides the vision for the whole of Abu Dhabi Emirate.
Next Generation”
Unique Urban Planning Principles
Abu Dhabi has an ambitious target of rapid diversification and densification for the next 20
years. In 2030 the city of Abu Dhabi envisions the population to be three times its current size.
One of the key strengths of the UPC is its commitment to engage citizens in their physical
environment. Over the centuries, the leaders of Abu Dhabi have consulted with both
townspeople and tribes. The UPC is preserving this consultation process as an established
tradition with a contemporary shape and form by creating room for social interactions.
The overall quality of Abu Dhabi’s urban environment is based on many factors, some of which
can be identified through meeting with the community to understand their needs and concerns.
In the formulation of Capital 2030, Al Ain 2030 and Al Gharbia 2030, major analysis of social,
cultural and economic life in the Emirates was conducted alongside workshops involving
leading urban planners.
The work of the UPC, which manages urban development to facilitate social and economic
growth, aims to create a stronger sense of community and identity across the Emirate. The
projects of the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council have a direct impact on the lifestyle
component of the residents of Abu Dhabi. In addition to the benefits and lifestyle enhancements
that Abu Dhabi residents will experience, the UPC will also act as an agent of change towards
the overall experience of residing in and visiting Abu Dhabi.
Launched in May 2008, Estidama, which means sustainability in Arabic, is Abu Dhabi’s
contribution to the global discussion of how to create more sustainable communities, cities and
global enterprises. It is the result of a clear political vision that is intended to balance the four
pillars of the environment, economy, society and culture in pursuit of a higher quality of life for all
living things.
Estidama is more than just a sustainability program; Estidama is the symbol of an inspired vision
for governance and community development. It promotes a new mindset for building a
forward-thinking global capital. Estidama is the first program of its kind that is tailored to the
Middle East region and is intended to promote the concept of living in harmony with Abu
Dhabi’s culture and environment whilst conserving the Emirati way of life so that future
generations can benefit from the wise choices made today.
Estidama supports Plan Abu Dhabi 2030, to ensure sustainable practices encompassing building
and community design are embedded into the culture. It provides Plan Abu Dhabi 2030 with a
practical and meaningful set of tools to help it become a benchmark for sustainable
development internationally. Estidama creates a sustainability framework that allows for
adaptation as Abu Dhabi evolves. Estidama, when fully expressed across Abu Dhabi’s society,
will touch multiple facets in people’s daily lives– the curriculum in schools, the way the sovereign
wealth fund makes investment decisions, the way infrastructure is planned, calculated and
constructed, the health of the land and marine ecosystems and sustainable sourcing of food
and water.
However, in the most immediate term, Estidama is focused on Abu Dhabi’s rapidly changing
built environment. It is in this area that the UPC is making significant strides to influence each and
every project that is under design, development or construction within the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
Achieving Estidama in our region will take time, commitment and leadership. It will also require a
variety of tools, combined with new capacity within our construction industry. Toward that end,
the UPC is working concurrently on a number of tools to help advance the reality of Estidama
including The Pearls Rating System and Pilot Projects and Stakeholder Engagement, in addition
to Regulatory and Code Alignment and Integrated Design Process Education and Training.
The Pearls Rating System
A major initiative for Estidama has been the launch of the Estidama Pearls Rating System (EPRS).
A comprehensive and practical way to assess levels of sustainability within developments, the
Pearls Rating System will be a voluntary programme to be made available to developers
seeking to achieve recognition for pursuing a higher level of green building and development.
However, the Pearls Rating System is also distinguishable from other green building rating
methods because it takes into account the culture of the country and requires accountability
through a ‘living rating’ stage that assesses the actual performance of a building.
Pilot Projects and Stakeholder Engagement Estidama recently awarded 12 Estidama Excellence
Awards to developers at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi. The pilot projects are
aiming for Estidama compliance and are exemplary representatives of the goals of Estidama,
offering a wide range of innovative solutions that meets the needs of both Abu Dhabi and the
wider GCC region.
Estidama is training a number of EPRS Qualified Practioners, who will take exams in 2010 to test
their understanding of project registration and certification to attain a Pearls rating, to ensure a
consistent approach across the projects they assist. Estidama supports young people to explore
and debate sustainability. Highlighting this commitment, a competition for students was
launched in 2009. More than 118 students of architecture, urban planning and engineering from
different UAE universities participated in the contest, which was jointly developed with Aldar
32 teams were challenged to design a sustainable Emirati dwelling which incorporated the local
traditional neighbourhood concept, the ‘Fareej’. The winning team from Ajman University of
Science and Technology (AUST) succeeded in combining traditional and modern sustainability
features into a functional design.
When fully implemented, Estidama will help residents of Abu Dhabi live more in harmony with
their environment and culture through building healthy communities, sites and buildings, reduce
pollution and energy consumption, integrate renewable energy and preserve natural resources.
Development Review Process
The UPC’s objective is to plan and regulate urban growth and development in Abu Dhabi. In
particular to implement the guidelines and principles laid out in Capital 2030, Al Ain 2030 and Al
Gharbia 2030 to achieve the highest levels of livability and sustainability. The UPC has
established a streamlined process to review development proposals. This process now focuses
on three approval streams that are designed to reflect the size and scale of the most frequent
application types in Abu Dhabi. The UPC uses this review process for two main purposes:
• To ensure development proposals comply with the Emirate’s urban planning policies
(e.g. land uses, densities, Estidama); and
• To coordinate the review and approval of development applications by external
agencies and government bodies
The review process is designed to:
• Provide the developer with information and direction to improve overall integration
with the surrounding area;
• Provide the Urban Planning Council with the necessary data to make informed
decisions on development applications; and
• Ensure a transparent, consistent system for all development reviews
Lifestyle Impact
‘Style Your Life’ – enhancing the lives of Abu Dhabi’s people
During 2010, the UPC will be focusing on seven key themes to communicate the work and
progress it is making throughout the Emirate in areas that will measurably improve the lives and
lifestyles of the residents of Abu Dhabi. The themes work together to create a complete picture
for Abu Dhabi’s evolution.
1. Mixed Use and Community Development
The UPC is working to create ‘Complete Communities’. The vision is to create neighbourhoods
which mix residences, shopping, services, recreation, and workplaces to create livable and
convenient places and promote a variety of community values including open space,
community vitality, housing choice, air quality, and walkable, transit-oriented development.
Community facilities such as mosques, hospitals, schools, recreational facilities and parks, as well
as privately provided facilities, such as shops, cafes will respond to the needs of the
neighbourhood and provide a social space in which residents of the community can interact.
Paramount to these functions are considerations for access and special needs which meet
accepted international standards. The community centre will be for all members of a
community whilst some facilities must be gender separated. Encouraging people to participate
in community activities outside the home is imperative to the success of a neighbourhood and
encourages more interaction between neighbours and residents.
A network of parks, plazas, and sidewalks will be located across Abu Dhabi. These spaces,
known collectively as the public realm, will connect residences to the town centre and
community facilities, amenities and services, as well as adjacent communities, thereby providing
the context for public life. Typically these gathering spaces will be located in any number of
areas such as a waterfront, downtown, special district, or even occupying a space between
two buildings.
Parks are a key aspect of community life and will typically serve several neighbourhoods with
active and passive recreational facilities. They are intended for use by a broad range of people
of varying age groups. They are planned to be in close proximity to major streets and transit
providing easy access for residents. This integration of employment, housing, retail, cultural,
religious, recreational, educational and community facilities at close proximity will add vibrancy
and character throughout the settlements, towns and cities of Abu Dhabi Emirate.
2. Culture & Heritage
The UPC bestows great importance in conserving the unique heritage, culture and customs of
the people and places of Abu Dhabi. Interpreting and incorporating these Arab and Emirati
elements into contemporary forms with help to facilitate the creation of an authentic Arab
Abu Dhabi has a unique connection with the sea. A planned Heritage Trail re-establishes the
traditional Bedouin route from the shore to the desert by linking the historic fort of Qasr Al Hosn,
the Qasr Al Manhal palace and onwards to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque, culminating in the
entrance to the Grand Boulevard of Capital District.
Whilst great significance is placed on Emirati heritage and customs, Abu Dhabi appreciates and
respects diversity. International museums such as the Guggenheim and Louvre highlight Abu
Dhabi’s openness to other international arts and culture.
3. Natural Environment
Abu Dhabi has a wealth of marine and land-based environmental assets that the UPC is working
to protect, preserve and enhance. The Eastern Mangroves, as pictured, which run along the
eastern shoreline of Abu Dhabi Island, act as an important ‘hatchery’ for the Gulf’s fish stocks,
whilst also providing a habitat for a number of species of birds. Green and Hawksbill turtles often
lay their eggs on the shores of Abu Dhabi, whilst flamingos, dolphins, porpoise and dugong can
be found in the Emirate’s marine waters.
The UPC has recently joined the Local Action for Biodiversity (LAB) initiative, a global initiative to
promote urban biodiversity. It aims to assist governments to conserve and sustainably manage
biodiversity. Abu Dhabi joins 20 other cities across five continents and is the first Middle Eastern
country to join the programme.
In addition, the UPC, in close collaboration with the Environment Agency of Abu Dhabi,
launched the Coastal Development Guidelines to provide direction for development in the
major coastal basin from the Al Dhabiya Island to the boundary with the Emirate of Dubai. It is
one of the first initiatives resulting from the Natural and Cultural Heritage Strategy, an integral
aspect of Plan Abu Dhabi 2030’s Environment Framework Plan which aims to conserve areas of
environmental importance to ensure they remain a part of Abu Dhabi’s ecological identity for
future generations.
4. Multi Modal transit infrastructure
The Abu Dhabi Department of Transport (DoT), in close conjunction with the UPC, has created a
Surface Transportation Masterplan (STMP) to improve connectivity throughout the Emirate and
the UAE. It aims to reduce the Emirate’s reliance on personal motorised vehicles by
implementing a network of public transit to include high speed rail and rapid transit options such
as trams and buses. Furthermore, a system of new streets and redesigned streets will emphasise
high quality urban design and cater to all modes of transport, making Abu Dhabi a better and
safer place to walk, cycle, and take public transport.
5. Revitalisation Strategies
A key objective for the UPC is to revitalize the existing communities of Abu Dhabi Emirate. The
developments of the revitalization strategies are well underway for both downtown areas of Abu
Dhabi City and Al Ain City. The revitalization strategy will infuse the Wasat Madinat, which means
‘downtown’ in Arabic, of both Abu Dhabi City and Al Ain City with better transport connections
and greater pedestrian connectivity, along with high quality community facilities and more
sustainable housing options. The revitalization of Wasat Madinat Abu Dhabi and Wasat Madinat
Al Ain, includes long-term plans to develop new sports and leisure facilities, cycle routes,
underground car parks and the building of new schools.
The construction of a tram system and an underground metro network is another long-term
priority for Wasat Madinat Abu Dhabi that will vastly improve connections both downtown and
with other parts of the city. The aims of the Wasat Madinat Al Ain Revitalisation strategy also
include the reestablishment of the links between the city with the oasis and the reactivation of
the oasis as a vibrant, pedestrian-friendly location for recreational and retail use. The UPC
recently held a charrette in Al Ain to discuss these concepts, which together will form the Al Ain
Central District Plan, with members of the public.
Overall, the revitalisation strategies for each city will result in a more balanced and diverse urban
environment for all members of the community.
6. Waterfront
Abu Dhabi’s unique location, where the desert converges with the sea, has created an
exceptional marine waterfront and has become an icon for the city of Abu Dhabi. The UPC’s
Corniche Area Vision and the subsequent Corniche Area Revitalisation Strategy, which covers
approximately 25,000,000 square metres along the north end of Abu Dhabi Island waterfront was
developed to improve access to the waterfront, improve parking facilities and increase the
range and number of public amenities. The Vision encompasses the following statements:
• The Corniche waterfront is Abu Dhabi’s premiere space celebrating the City’s historic
roots, urban and cultural evolution;
• The Corniche preserves, enhances and celebrates the interface of unique natural
features (water, sky, climate) with traditional and contemporary Arab culture to serve the
diverse, multicultural population of Abu Dhabi; and
• The Corniche Area is a public space that is more than the sum of its parts. It is a fully
accessible, safe and legible urban environment, offering an engaging experience
through a system of publicly accessible and climate responsive beaches, waterfront
promenades, parks, plazas, streetscapes, neighbourhoods and destinations.
The Corniche Area Revitalisation Strategy sets out the plans for re-developing the public beach
and promenade areas. It aims to improve transportation access, parking and community
facilities to enable better access for both car-users and pedestrians, and to create a vibrant,
safe and active Corniche for residents and visitors to use and enjoy.
The first phase of the project was completed in November 2009. The Corniche now provides
comprehensive recreation and leisure opportunities, such as beach volleyball and football, for
the entire Abu Dhabi community. A beach board-walk and facilities for cycling has been
created as well as other leisure and entertainment activities, whilst also providing space for
cultural and environmental activities and promotions. The new design has enhanced shading
and lighting elements and has improved street-crossings for pedestrians.
Furthermore, additional parking has improved access. Continued improvements to extend the
public beach area from 1.2km to over 3 km will continue throughout 2010. The remaining steps
that form the Corniche Area Vision will be implemented over the next c.5+ years. Additional
projects such as Bateen Wharf, which will create a mixed-use community based around a
marina on Abu Dhabi Island, a public corniche running along the waterfront of Coastal Bahia
which forms part of the revitalization masterplan for Shahama & Bahia and Khalifa Port, which
will be a vital component of economic growth for Abu Dhabi, further highlight the importance of
Abu Dhabi’s coastal areas both for recreation and the economy.
7. World-Class Sporting Venue
Abu Dhabi is quickly becoming recognised as an international player on a number of sporting
circuits. Abu Dhabi’s inaugural Formula 1 Grand Prix took place on Yas Island in November 2009
and throughout December, FIFA held the FIFA Club World Cup Championships in Mohammed
Bin Zayed Sports Stadium and Zayed Sports City, which also held the Capitala World Tennis
Championships in January of this year.
Sporting facilities are essential to building complete communities. The UPC is building sports
facilities such as basketball and racketball courts into a number of projects to provide
recreational activities within easy reach of its residents. Capital District will be home to The New
Stadium Abu Dhabi, located in the Khalifa Sports Hub, further demonstrating the UPC’s
commitment to providing high quality sporting facilities for both event and public use.
3. Regional Structure Framework Plans
The Emirate of Abu Dhabi comprises of three regions: Abu Dhabi City and the neighbouring
mainland falls within ‘Capital 2030’, ’Al Ain 2030’, which covers the city of Al Ain and the
surrounding settlements of the Al Ain region and ‘Al Gharbia 2030’, which covers the western
region. These framework plans, whilst being tailored to each specific region, will also work
together to ensure that the Emirate as a whole develops in a strategic and consistent manner
and that elements such as utilities and transit infrastructure are planned for at an Emirate-wide
Capital 2030
Capital 2030 presents a practical, flexible and sustainable view of the future of Abu Dhabi Island
and its neighbouring communities. The plan not only directs the physical environment and the
technical and sustainable aspects of urban development in the Emirate, it also enhances the
lifestyle of the residents of Abu Dhabi – a key focus for the UPC.
Capital 2030 was established through an innovative process whereby Abu Dhabi’s leadership
itself took part to ensure that the plan is set according to the grand vision for Abu Dhabi. Both
international and local experts, who are well-versed in international best practice, were also
invited to participate. The plan is predicated on a series of fundamental principles, which are:
environment, measured growth, heritage and culture, diversity, connectivity and pedestrian
development. As such, under the framework:
Abu Dhabi will be a contemporary expression of an Arab city, which has people
living, doing, and thriving in healthy supportive proximity to each other;
Abu Dhabi will continue its practice of measured growth reflecting a sustainable
economy, rather than an uncontrolled growth;
Abu Dhabi will respect, be scaled to, and shaped by the natural environment of
sensitive coastal and desert ecologies;
Abu Dhabi will manifest its role and stature as a capital city; and
Abu Dhabi’s urban fabric and community infrastructure will enable the values,
social arrangements, culture and mores of this Arab community.
Al Ain 2030
Known as the ‘oasis city’ of the UAE, Al Ain and the surrounding settlements of the Al Ain Region
have one of the most diverse natural environments within the Emirate, along with a rich cultural
heritage. In 2009, Plan Al Ain 2030 was released to provide an urban structure framework plan for
the city of Al Ain and the surrounding suburban areas. The plan evaluates and responds to
current and future development challenges and supports the evolution of the city into a model
desert community.
Plan Al Ain 2030 presents a comprehensive plan for the future of Al Ain as an environmentally,
socially and economically sustainable city. It answers the need to provide economic growth
through development and diversification without sacrificing scarce ground water resources and
natural habitats. Plan Al Ain promises special treatment for the city’s oases, ensuring they remain
at the heart of the community for future generations to come. It supports traditional Bedouin
living through the ‘fareej’ neighbourhood concept, where extended families can live in close
proximity, but with the privacy they require. In addition, high-quality community facilities will be
Plan Al Ain 2030 also supports growth in the education and healthcare industries along with
cultural and ecological tourism. The Al Ain Central District Plan is currently being devised which
covers the Central District of Al Ain known as Wasat Madinat Al Ain, which means ‘downtown’ in
Arabic. This plan includes the creation of new Emirati neighbourhoods and the revitalization of
the existing downtown of Wasat Madinat Al Ain with sustainable housing options, community
facilities and improved pedestrian and transit connections.
In addition, the plan incorporates strategies to re-connect the city to the oasis for tourism and
recreational purposes. In time, the UPC will create further detailed plans for the individual areas
that together form Al Ain City.
In the future, Plan Al Ain 2030 will be re-released to include the city of Al Ain and the entire Al Ain
Region, thereby creating a comprehensive plan for the Al Ain Region. An intensive ‘charrette’
was held in November 2009, during which representatives from the UPC and Al Ain Municipality
joined with a number of local and international planning experts to discuss the most appropriate
way for the settlements of the Al Ain Region
to grow and prosper whilst conserving the environment and culture that the region is so wellknown for.
Work on this plan will continue throughout 2010.
Al Ain Downtown Revitalisation
In its ongoing efforts to implement the recommendations of Plan Al Ain 2030, the urban structure
framework plan for Al Ain, Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC), recently organised first
public Charette sessions for the revitalisation of Downtown Al Ain.
The Charette session for downtown Al Ain witnessed the UPC team of urban planners present an
outline of the proposed community facilities for a diverse population including utility,
transportation, parking strategies, landscape, courtyard (housing concepts) and mixed use
community with affordable and luxury housing opportunities for locals and expatriates.
The downtown revitalisation plan for the oasis city of Al Ain emanates from the Central District
Plan, a key component of Plan Al Ain 2030, which is currently being developed by the UPC
together with variety of partners. The Central District Plan shall resolve the district level structure,
establish guidelines for new development and provide recommendations for several
transportation and infrastructure modes to ensure the ongoing sustainable development of
downtown Al Ain and surrounding neighbourhoods.
The key objective of the project is intended to advance the recommendations of Plan Al Ain
2030 and foster towards implementation.
Eastern Region 2030
Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC) recently organised the first technical Charrette session
for the Eastern Region of Abu Dhabi. Under the ambit of Vision 2030, the Charrette session,
organised by the UPC marked the beginning of the process for creating the 2030 regional
structure framework plan for the scenic Eastern region.
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.
Al Gharbia 2030
Al Gharbia is one of the richest areas of the UAE in terms of oil and gas reserves. In addition, the
region is known for its diverse agriculture and animal husbandry. At 59,760 square kilometres, Al
Gharbia accounts for 83% of Abu Dhabi Emirate’s landmass. The total population of the region is
just over 115,000. As such, Al Gharbia is characterized by a large geographic spread and low
population density.
There are seven major cities in the region, each providing a range of services and opportunities
to the communities. These cities are Madinat Zayed, Mirfa, Ghayathi, Liwa, Ruwais, Sila’a, and
Delma. Liwa will become the key government centre for the western region. Population density
is spread across these seven cities, with the highest concentrations in Madinat Zayed and
In September 2008, a small team conducted a detailed study of the region and each
municipality from land, sea, and air. This helped form the planning context in conjunction with
interviews of key stakeholders. Initial conceptual design and policy elements were developed at
a unique ‘charrette’ session - a five day urban planning workshop which began on the 16th
November, 2008. The UPC, in partnership with the Western Region Development Council (WRDC)
and Western Region Municipality (WRM), led the charrette process which involved leadership
and representatives from the Abu Dhabi Government and a team of multi-disciplinary experts in
urban design, planning, architecture, environment, infrastructure, and transportation.
Draft plans were shared with communities in the Western Region as part of the planning process
in order to promote joint ownership of solutions and ensure understanding between residents
and developers and local authorities. Plan Al Gharbia 2030, due to be released in 2010, is
designed to aid in moving Al Gharbia towards the future with managed, responsible growth.
Environmental respect, social health, cultural identity and economic development are all key
elements of the plan and provide the opportunity to leverage economic growth without
sacrificing the cultural and historic significance of the region.
Plan Al Gharbia 2030 supports the implementation of well-connected, high quality community
services and amenities for the residents and communities across the region and the preservation
and enhancement of culturally and environmentally important zones. The plan contains a
number of housing options to ensure that regional settlements provide residences that meet the
needs of all segments of the regional population.
The plan, which works on both a regional and settlement level, also highlights the expansion of
sustainable tourism activities and acknowledges the importance of the sustainable expansion of
oil and other heavy industrial activity within the region to enable economic growth.
Build your sustainable villa
Capital District: UPC’s flagship
The Capital District Masterplan is designed to manage the development of a new city through a
long-term vision. It represents a unique opportunity to create an authentic sustainable modern
Arab capital which will shape the future of the region by defining a unique and contemporary
urbanism. Central to the masterplan is the commitment to create a sense of identity and
community. The Capital District Masterplan aims to preserve the traditions, heritage and way of
life for Emirati people, while being flexible enough to accommodate the needs of the Emirate’s
diverse population.
Covering a 49 square kilometre area, and with a projected population of 370,000 people, the
Capital District is strategically located in a triangular area of land between Mohammed bin
Zayed City, Khalifa City A, Khalifa City B and Abu Dhabi International Airport. The project is in the
preliminary stages of implementation.
Major infrastructure works are planned to commence in2010 for the first phases of the
development. The overall development is phased, with completion due in 2030, which highlights
the sheer size and scale of the project. Rapid expansion of the economy, fast population growth
and significant foreign investment in combination with the need for a prominent federal
government centre and downtown expansion led to the need for the development of a larger
business and federal district.
The existing Central Business District (CBD) suffers from physical development constraints given its
location at the northern tip of Abu Dhabi Island. This resulted in the need for a new Capital
District, located south of Abu Dhabi Island. It will enhance and support the existing downtown
CBD while confirming Abu Dhabi’s identity as the capital and centre of federal governance for
the UAE. The site of the Capital District was based on a number of strategic benefits that the
location enjoys. Firstly, its centrality to the region, both to Abu Dhabi island and the wider region,
its proximity to the existing highway network and Abu Dhabi International Airport and the three
existing neighbourhoods of Khalifa City A, Khalifa City B and Mohammed Bin Zayed City.
By 2030, the Capital District, will be transformed into a vibrant, liveable and sustainable high
density CBD. Capital District will be the home of Federal Government with a range of
governmental ministries and foreign embassies as well as supporting financial and commercial
uses. It is planned as a sustainable, compact, mixed use city, comprised of high-density transitoriented communities, employment, major universities, hospitals and knowledge based
employment sectors, as well as a lower density Emirati neighbourhood.
The significance of this project stems from its potential to elevate the image of the UAE, allowing
it to be globally recognised for promoting responsible and sustainable planning initiatives. This in
turn promotes the value of practising sound planning processes, by setting a precedent for highquality planning and design in the Gulf region.
In order to deliver on this vision, the masterplan was based on a set of overarching principles to
provide the highest quality of life possible for all of its citizens:
• A liveable and modern Arab capital;
• A global capital with a federal precinct which will serve as the national seat of
government for the UAE;
• Integrated communities through the development of high-quality community and
cultural facilities;
• Diverse and healthy economy benefiting all citizens and attracting key industries;
• High quality development opportunities through developments with maximum value
and flexibility for their intended use;
• A connected Capital through an integrated transport network of regional rail, metro
rail, street trams and bus systems;
• Pedestrian accessibility; and
• A sustainable capital.
Shahama & Bahia
The master plan for Shahama and Bahia regions incorporates the vision of Plan Abu Dhabi 2030
and is aimed at revitalizing the four existing communities of Old Shahama, Bahia, New Shahama
and Coastal Bahia.
Shahama and Bahia revitalisation master plan is the first area master plan to be unveiled by the
UPC and has been formulated after incorporating feedback from a series of workshops and
meetings with relevant governmental and non-governmental agencies as well as a inputs
garnered from a community event organised in Shahama in partnership with Emirates
Shahama/Bahia is located between Abu Dhabi and Dubai, and is bound by two desert fingers
on its north and south sides. The region has a significant wetlands national park and a water
channel on its west side, along with E11 highway on its East side. The Shahama area is
approximately 2,170 hectares in area with an existing population of approximately 24,000
inhabitants, a large population of which is Emirati nationals.
The concept plan for Shahama and Bahia provides a long term vision towards the year 2030
and beyond for the expansion of the Shahama area in a controlled and planned manner to
ensure that the needs and culture of Emirati people are respected, the environment is
protected and enhanced and that the area is well connected to its surroundings.
Khalifa City A & Khalifa City B
Khalifa City A & Khalifa City B are strategically located next to Capital District. During 2010,
individual masterplans for the cities will be released, based on the continuation of the vision
expressed within Vision 2030. Deriving their character from traditional modes of living in Abu
Dhabi, they will set the foundations for balanced and complete communities by offering wellconnected community facilities.
• The key objective of both Khalifa City A and Khalifa City B Masterplans is to create a
vibrant, sustainable community through the distribution of public facilities;
• Connectivity and transit within the neighbourhoods and the surrounding districts is a
central theme; and
• Khalifa City A features a Central Spine which will have mixed-use blocks. Khalifa City B
will also have a Central Spine and will have neighbourhood nodes which feature mixeduse blocks, townhouses and villas.
4. Key Urban Development Initiatives
World Sustainable Capitals
The UPC entered into a strategic partnership with the World Economic Forum (WEF) and the Abu
Dhabi Council for Economic Development (ADCED) in September 2009 with the creation of the
World Sustainable Capitals (WSC) Initiative. The initiative consists of a global and regional
alliance of World Sustainable Capitals and a network of leading experts, economists and
industry representatives in the field of urban planning and sustainability.
The WSC is a result-oriented project, focused on formulating concrete recommendations and
measurable results that are derived from a thoughtful awareness of relevant economic
conditions and influences. It identifies strategies and policy recommendations to guide capital
cities to better resolve the challenges of sustainable urban planning development and
sustainable economic growth.
A number of capital cities are carefully planning for sustainable development in strategic policy
plans for the future. Most of these cities share similar principles to those of Abu Dhabi, including
economic, environmental, cultural and social objectives for a more sustainable future. By
collaborating with sustainable cities that share the same vision as the UPC, the ADCED and the
WEF seek to galvanize global capital cities in the adoption of successful urban planning
decisions that favour sustainable economic growth.
The UPC’s proactive stance on sustainability issues and the challenges of future urban growth
are reinforced through participation in initiatives such as the WSC to support the UPC’s vision. This
vision – ‘Planning Abu Dhabi for The Next Generation’ is also being driven through recruitment
and development within the UPC.
Urban Street Design Manual
Connectivity is an integral part of the UPC’s principles for the Emirate. The UPC has identified that
an efficient and safe network of streets and pathways are critical to the growth of Abu Dhabi
and the creation of a world-class sustainable Arab City and in response has developed the
Urban Streets Design Manual.
The Urban Streets Design Manual is a practical new tool, developed by the UPC in co-ordination
with the Department of Transport, the Department of Municipal Affairs, the Traffic Police and
other relevant agencies and will apply to all streets in the Emirate including those parts
scheduled for urbanization by 2030.
The main elements within the manual include enhanced connectivity between streets, the
creation of a connected multi-modal street hierarchy, provisions for open space and
community facilities, innovative shading and cooling solutions, expanded managed parking
spaces and an overall pedestrian-friendly orientation.
The new street design will provide genuine choice of movement by walking, cycling and public
transport modes as well as in private motor vehicles. Abu Dhabi’s residents and visitors will start
witnessing the transformation as early as 2010 when a City Centre street will be constructed
according to the new design standards.
The new streetscape is being designed in tandem with the overall development of Abu Dhabi as
stipulated in Plan 2030 and many of its elements are inexorably linked to community
regeneration projects and the creation of new residential and commercial projects across the
Coastal Development Guidelines
Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC) has in close collaboration with the Environment
Agency - Abu Dhabi (EAD) recently jointly unveiled the Coastal Development Guidelines for the
Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
The Coastal Development Guidelines is one of the first initiatives resulting from the earlier
introduced Natural and Cultural Heritage Strategy, and is an integral aspect of Plan Abu Dhabi
2030’s Environment Framework Plan. The newly introduced guidelines provide direction for
development in the major coastal basins extending from the Al Dhabiya island to the boundary
with Dubai Emirate – which are referred to as the Bul Syaeef, Inner Islands, Ras Gharab and Ras
Ghanadah basins.
Within each area, there will be management strategies ranging from a fully preserved natural
reserve, which protects the most important natural and cultural assets, to stewardship zones,
which are urban in nature but that promote sustainable design and social inclusion.
The unveiling of the Coastal Development Guidelines fulfils an important step in the Maritime
Strategy for the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, an overarching strategy developed by the Maritime
Security Executive Committee and approved by relevant stakeholders and the Marine Areas
Supreme Security Committee. The Coastal Development Guidelines contribute to the Maritime
Strategy’s vision for a safe, secure and environmentally sustainable maritime domain for Abu
For more information please contact:
Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council:
Fouad Kassem
Public Affairs and Media Relations Manager
Direct: +971 2 409 6059
Mobile: +971 50 632 4150
Email: [email protected]
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