These creative spaces helped families cope during lockdown Image Credit: Supplied

Howaida Rabee, a resident of Dubai’s Motor City, has started a "BalconiesofMotorCity" Instagram initiative with contribution from community residents to showcase the beauty of the balconies in this lovely community. A property owner and resident of Motor City for the last six years, Howaida is a working mom of two kids and felt it was important to highlight “the space in our homes that played such a vital role during the lockdown. “

Fairy lights adorn the balcony of a home in Motor City Image Credit: Supplied

The pandemic was the main trigger behind setting up @DubaiMotorCity, says Howaida. “It made me realise how important it is to be outdoors, to enjoy nature and take a fresh breath of air. So it made me think, what can I do to share this gratitude with other residents?” she explains.

The idea @DubaiMotorCity was to start a dialogue among residents of this community, which would eventually lead to better interaction and exchange of ideas. “It is up to us residents to decide whether we live in little boxes (or rather large ones, I would say, in Motor City) or whether we live in a vibrant, green, and lively community that we call our home,” says Howaida.

Colorful rugs and indoor plants beautify the space Image Credit: Supplied

The pandemic has taught us so many things, says Howaida. “In 2020 we had enough of staying indoors. It is now time to engage ourselves with our environment and it starts from our own community. My kids, who once dragged their feet to the park, now demand outdoor playtime every day. I feel so proud to see them play with other kids in the open, sharing their favorite sweets and juices. Sometimes I wonder how did we grow up so fast from being that child in the park to being super busy in our daily routine. Today we have forgotten to take time off to enjoy the beauty around us and to share a smile with a neighbor,” she says.

Role in wellbeing

Follow these balconies on instagram Image Credit: Supplied

The balconies of Motor City have played a big role in our wellbeing during the pandemic, admits Howaida. “They were one of the most valuable discoveries made within our homes. Balconies are such an important part of our homes – they are like the stepping stones that connect us with the world outdoors. Be it having breakfast and coffee in the morning, or enjoying the sounds of birds and the warmth of the morning sun on our face, or spending time with friends after work, we all have a special connection with our balconies,” she says. “They are our little private oasis, especially during the amazing winter of Dubai and the UAE – the coolest winter in the world!”

Residents of Motor City have done a great job in designing and personalizing their balconies, so it was only natural to showcase their beauty and start #BalconiesofMotorCity campaign, she explains. “This was the first step I took to get the community together. “

Community engagement

Image Credit: Howaida Rabee, a resident of Motor City who started the initiative, seen here with her children

Once Howaida started the social initiative, she started receiving amazing images from the residents who wanted to share their outdoor living space with the rest of the community and the world! “It’s truly amazing to see each of these balconies that have been designed to fulfill our needs – some have lovely dinner tables, or lounge chairs, others have a work bench or even lots of potted plants. I am very happy with the engagement levels and I thank each member of the community who participated in this initiative and have shared their experience.”