The Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC) has published its 2016 Annual Report, detailing some of its most impressive achievements, which have kept the Emirate on course to reach objectives outlined in the Abu Dhabi Plan.
Last year, the UPC made huge strides in important projects for national housing, infrastructure planning, sustainable living and spatial data, while also offering more opportunities for Emiratis to build a rewarding career in urban planning and providing training on the latest industry techniques to hundreds of employees and external partners.
In July this year, Abu Dhabi was ranked by Ipsos* as the second-best city in the world to live and work in. The Annual Report reveals key work that helped the capital reach such an impressive position, as well as urban planning projects being carried out in other parts of the Emirate.
The report also presents the strategic and ﬁnancial results for 2016 that contributed to the achievement of goals identiﬁed in the Abu Dhabi Plan, which will enable the Emirate to achieve its vision as a secure, sustainable and confident society.
H.E. Falah Al Ahbabi, Director General, Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council, states 2016 was another year of success, growth and transformation for the UPC, demonstrating the high quality of work delivered by the Council and its various partners as they collaborate for the continued enhancement of the Emirate.
H.E. said: “The landscape of Abu Dhabi Emirate has changed dramatically over the last decades. We have witnessed this impressive pace of transformation, thanks to the direction of our wise Leadership and the guiding principles of our nation’s founding father, the late Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
“The Abu Dhabi Plan has been the catalyst for this positive change, ensuring that we live and work in safe, sustainable, attractive and healthy places. Its ambitious targets and comprehensive development goals encompass all aspects of living in the Emirate. At the UPC, we are achieving these goals through a meticulous planning process, delivering rapid growth without compromising on quality.
“We must continue to achieve such significant progress by harnessing the power of partnership with the private and public sector, shifting Abu Dhabi onto an even more enhanced and sustainable trajectory of growth and development.”
As well as outlining some of the most significant master plans created and approved by the UPC, the report also details the various awards and achievements gained by the various departments throughout the organisation.
Abdulla Al Shamsi, Executive Director, Strategic Affairs Sector, said: “From a strategic perspective, the report illustrates the UPC’s accomplishments thanks to its forward-thinking planning process.
“It’s an opportunity for the UPC to share this report with its strategic partners, Government entities and the public, to raise awareness about the role and nature of work that the UPC carries out, which is inspired by the Abu Dhabi Plan.
“I would like to thank everyone involved in contributing to the successful completion of this report and the impressive level of progress the UPC has made in shaping the future of Abu Dhabi.”
In 2016 the Infrastructure Design team worked on dozens of concept master plans aimed at creating high quality sustainable housing for future generation of Emiratis.
The Mirfa Emirati Neighbourhood in Al Dhafra, Al Hai Al Sharqi in Ghayathi, Ras Al Sader development in Abu Dhabi and the Falaj Hazza Infill Project in Al Ain will offer 572 villa plots between them, all with associated community facilities.
Work also continued on the master plan for National Housing on Hudayriat Island with the team preparing infrastructure concept layouts and cost estimations for all utilities and transport links. The concept master plan is scheduled to be submitted at the end of 2017.
One of the largest and most significant projects, which will deliver National Housing is Zayed City. Located between Abu Dhabi International Airport and Mohamed bin Zayed City, it will emerge as a new residential and commercial heart of Abu Dhabi.
Last year 28 sectors in the north spine of Zayed City were planned with 49 plots assigned for residential investment, encompassing a GFA of 384,000m2. The plans were prepared in line with planning requirements and the future perspective of the area, ensuring all utility and community facilities are also integrated in the plan.
By the end of last year 1,672 projects had been submitted under the Estidama Pearl Rating System (PRS) covering 22,124,089m2 of Gross Floor Area (GFA). A total of 11,204,603m2 was under construction and 3,761,415m2 had been completed.
The PRS, launched in 2010, has unique features that measure sustainability in the Abu Dhabi Emirate. It involves mandatory sustainability requirements and guidelines for the construction of all villas, buildings and communities via pre-defined categories known as the Four Pillars of Sustainability: environmental; economic; social; and cultural.
It is estimated that Estidama also helped drive substantial savings of 55% for energy consumption and 45% for water in new building developments.
More than 1,900 industry specialists have been assessed on PRS, and are now recognised as Pearl Qualified Professionals, while almost 13,000 people have received Estidama training through the 459 sessions held.
Emirati Talent The UPC is dedicated to expanding the range of Emirati talent in a sector that gives employees the opportunity to contribute in shaping the future of Abu Dhabi. The number of Emiratis employed at the UPC increased on all levels in 2016, with overall Emiratisation rising from 64% to 70% and an increase in the number of Emirati women from 31% to 34% in the same period.
The UPC also welcomed 25 UAE Nationals as interns across its departments.
Various enhancements were made to the Abu Dhabi Urban Street and Utility Design Tool – a free web-based application that allows users to explore and design multi-model plan views and cross-sections in both street and utilities mode.
These upgrades led to 48,372 people accessing the tool, which is more than double the total number of people who accessed the tool from 2012-2015. And more than 250 people received official training on how to use the tool. It also scooped the ITS Smart Mobility Award in the same year.
One field UPC has excelled in in recent years is Spatial Data and this was evident in 2016. This team helps a wide range of stakeholders visualise and communicate complex information between the relevant partners. This clear guidance offers a constant base for decision-making to make processes more efficient.
One of the key tools used is a Smart Geoplanner, which was re-launched with new features. It provides urban planners with spatial analysis tools using up-to-data data from all government entities to enable them to check for any spatial issues and support the planning process by speeding up the required approvals.