Abu Dhabi: A random survey designed by the Urban Planning Council (UPC) shows that 63 per cent of 10,882 random households, (29 per cent of which are Emirati), feel that the Emirate of Abu Dhabi needs to invest in more community facilities such as shopping or eating, places of entertainment, health care, transport, sports, schools, social centres, government facilities, and religious entities.
The "style your life" community survey was launched by the UPC in efforts to engage the community in lifestyle changes, while understanding how residents use existing community facilities and what additional facilities might be required both now and in the future.
The survey was distributed among 6,907 households located in Abu Dhabi, Al Ain and the Western Region, in urban, sub-urban and rural areas, and was completed on schedule in six weeks.
The findings of the survey indicate that while 26 per cent of residents do not consider that they are missing community facilities in their area, 63 per cent of households indicated the absence of one or more community facilities.
The most desired community facility included shopping and eating outlets, places of entertainment which include parks and playgrounds and health care facilities, especially in rural areas, which accounted for a majority of responses.
Speaking about the initiative, Falah Al Ahbabi, General Manager at the UPC, said: "Community engagement across Abu Dhabi is a key component of our process towards achieving the Vision 2030 development objectives and the remarkable response received during the survey reflects the enthusiasm of the Emirates' residents towards engaging with the Vision 2030 development programme. At UPC, the resident's feedback is of paramount importance as it presents yet another opportunity to increase public participation in the Vision 2030 planning process."
The UPC is already in the process of renovating and re-visiting strategies in existing parks across the capital city. Seven other parks are being built as part of UPC's phase one process; another five parks will follow.
A major demand for sports facilities has also emerged from the findings of the survey. The findings reflect that 30 per cent of Emirates households visit parks three times more than any other sporting facility.
Strong support for using school facilities such as libraries and sporting venues after operational hours was also identified in the survey.
In an interview with Gulf News, Al Ahbabi confirmed that the UPC will introduce 20 to 25 parks in Khalifa City which has already attracted hundreds of Abu Dhabi residents due to moderately lower rents. Over 40 parks will be introduced in UPC's new district known as the Capital District, and around 15 parks in Mohammad Bin Zayed. Each park will consist of activities and games for children, with the possibility of placing animals in some of the parks.
Additionally, the UPC is working with the sports council to add sports fac-ilities that will include soccer, volleyball pitches and basketball courts. Five sports pitches across the capital city are soon to be open, with plans to introduce another 15 sport facilities in the next few years as part of the Abu Dhabi 2030 plan.
The capital city will also introduce several new malls.
"In the next two years we will witness Shahama malls. Yas Mall will also be open in two years, Khalifa A and B malls in three years, and Mohammad Bin Zayed in a year and a half. We will also be opening 30 parks in Shahama and Bahia, keeping sustainability in mind, by preserving water and energy. Water is precious and is the main issue we are concerned about," said the UPC General Manager.