Abu Dhabi: About 50 per cent of Abu Dhabi city's streets will be revamped as part of an urban regeneration project to make the city more livable and sustainable, officials at a conference in the UAE capital said.

Abu Dhabi city is expected to have 3.1 million residents, 7.9 million annual tourists, and 686,000 residential units by 2030.

The Abu Dhabi government predicts a population of 1.3 million by next year, with 3.3 million annual tourist visits and 251,000 residential units. For this, the Urban Planning Council (UPC) has launched Estidama, sustainability in Arabic.

"Abu Dhabi is looking to deliver high standards through gaining experience from other cities who presented a model in promoting and developing their contemporary cities in accordance to the 21st century. That's why UPC is taking into consideration sustainability as a core value in every single project, infrastructure and initiatives it embraces," said Falah Al Ahbabi, UPC general manager.

Pleasant place

To ensure that the city remains a pleasant place to live, as the number of residents increase, the UPC identified key directions of plan capital 2030 urban structure framework, some of which include the enhanced Central Business District (CBD) known as the Wasat Madinat Abu Dhabi.

Another urban project is the Capital District — to be located between Mohammad Bin Zayed City and the Abu Dhabi international Airport.

Yousuf Al Fahim, UPC Associate Planner, said as part of revitalisation of Abu Dhabi city public parks, and shaded promenades will all be upgraded.

"The design of the city will exemplify Estidama's sustainability and liveability plan. The Capital District will serve as a second downtown for Abu Dhabi, with an expected 370,000 residents, who will experience a rare blend of traditional living with the latest 21st century options. The area will serve as a central business district, with embassies, federal government offices, universities, housing for Emiratis and will consist of major commercial activities," he said.

Biggest challenge

Managing population growth, according to Amr Al Hammadi, Planning Policy and TIES Director, is currently UPC's biggest challenge and responsibility.

"The demand and supply formula in the real estate market is crucial, which we are identifying alongside developers, builders and consultants. In order to ensure a stable population growth, we need to bring life to sub-sectors across the emirate," Al Hammadi said.

Ebrahim Al Hamoudi, Senior Urban Designer at the UPC, 50 per cent of the streets in Abu Dhabi will be revamped. "We will introduce promenades for people with special needs, and turn some of the unnecessary street space into gardens. Higher density areas will be re-designed to ensure that walking distance and quality of life improves," he said.

Is there a specific area in Abu Dhabi you would like to see revamped? What changes would you like to see made to make the Emirate more accessible and environmentally friendly?