To enhance transport and mobility, the DPM is commissioning projects that include a network of new cycle paths throughout the city and a maritime hub Image Credit: Supplied

The first day of Cityscape Abu Dhabi highlighted issues of happiness, liveability and sustainability under the theme “Transforming Abu Dhabi”. Abu Dhabi’s Department of Urban Planning and Municipalities (DPM) showcased a range of new urban development projects that have been designed to improve quality of life and liveability in the city, fostering greater connection between families and creating a more engaged society for community wellbeing. The projects will support the plan of making Abu Dhabi one of the most liveable cities in the world by 2021.

“The pursuit of happiness is deeply rooted in the history of the UAE,” said Falah Al Ahbabi, chairman of DPM. “In 1971, Shaikh Zayed highlighted that the most important achievement of the Union is the happiness of the community. To Shaikh Zayed, the wealth of his nation was the happiness of his people and that happiness was more than economic wellbeing. Transforming Abu Dhabi aims to make the city more liveable, focusing on transport, mobility and urban environment, active lifestyle and the development of cultural programmes and projects.”

Transport, mobility and urban environment

To enhance transport, mobility and wider urban environment, the DPM is commissioning projects that include a network of new cycle paths throughout the city and a maritime hub (water taxi networks). It will also redevelop many of the city’s most important arterial roads such as Airport Road and the Corniche with a comprehensive Street Facelift Programme that will see improved traffic conditions, pedestrian experiences and climate remediation efforts. These programmes are designed to also increase walkability in the city and reduce reliance on automobiles.

Active lifestyle and development

The DPM is also planning to regenerate 11 of the existing parks in the city and develop three themed parks as well as new “pocket” or “verge parks” in some of the busiest areas of the city this year. In addition, the DPM will create 45km of exercise trails, rest pods as well as significant development of the Corniche Beachfront and Al Bateen waterfronts that will improve accessibility.

A major part of “Transforming Our Abu Dhabi” involves getting feedback and input from communities to measure impact. People make choices about cities they want to visit or live because of the location, quality of life and amenities that, together, make up its sense of place. The DPM has put in place a number of KPIs and targets measuring resident footfall, community satisfaction, tourist footfall, private sector activation, usage and reduction in car use.

Cultural projects

The DPM is developing Street Art programmes in seven of the main auxiliary roads in the city with creative shaded streetscapes, augmented reality walking trails and the integration of public art as part of city colour.

Happy Living by Tamouh

The concept of Happy Living has also been highlighted by Abu Dhabi property development firm Tamouh at Cityscape Abu Dhabi today. The strategy has been inspired by the National Programme for Happiness and Positivity, and will help in promoting happier lifestyles within communities. Focusing on novel designs in urban planning and architecture, it aims to create communities and buildings that provide families, individuals and businesses with the environment to grow and thrive in a happy and productive atmosphere.

The master developer made the announcement on the first day of Cityscape Abu Dhabi, where it also gave an update on its Reem Downtown project and announced a unique post-handover payment plan for its Horizon Towers mixed-use waterfront project on Reem Island.

Tamouh will incorporate scientifically proven practices to increase levels of happiness among residents, introducing the elements of connectivity, light, space, airflow and by creating positive green social spaces in key areas. Ghanem Al Mansoori, CEO of Tamouh, said, “Our ‘Happy Living’ initiative will be at the very heart of everything we do. It will not only provide homes and comfort for individuals and families for generations to come but provide businesses easy connectivity and help companies to increase productivity.”