Dubai: The latest review of the Al Quoz Creative Zone Development Project by its Higher Committee presided over by Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairperson of Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) and Member of the Dubai Council, has shed light on the changing face of the community, even as three new members representing Dubai Police, Digital Dubai Authority and the Government of Dubai Media Office, have been brought on board, it was announced in Dubai on Sunday.
Sheikha Latifa said during the review meeting, “We will continue to strengthen our efforts to enhance the emirate’s position as a global creative hub that develops innovative and inspiring creative projects. We have been studying various international best practices for the establishment of creative zones, and we aim to make the Al Quoz Creative Zone an exceptional model for a creative zone in line with our leadership’s vision.”
The meeting was attended by Mattar Al Tayer, Director-General, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), Vice Chairman of the Committee; Lieutenant-General Abdullah Khalifa Al Marri, Commander-in-Chief of Dubai Police; Dawoud Al Hajri, Director General of Dubai Municipality; Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General of the Department of Economy and Tourism (DET), Director General of Dubai World Trade Centre Authority; Hala Badri, Director General of Dubai Culture; Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori, Director General of Digital Dubai; Mona Al Marri, Director General of the Government of Dubai Media Office (GDMO); and Hesham Abdullah Al Qassim, CEO of Wasl Asset Management Group (Wasl AMG).
Now just what are the changes that have come about in Al Quoz and what more can we expect going forward? Here are among the key updates from the Higher Committee’s review meeting.
82% rise in creative licences
To begin with, the number of creative licences issued in Al Quoz has increased by 82 per cent since the launch of the ‘Creatives’ Journey’ initiative on the ‘Invest in Dubai’ platform. This is a 76 per cent increase across Dubai as a whole. The initiative has also contributed to shortening the number of steps needed for creatives to establish their work.
By 2026, the master plan for the zone is expected to provide facilities that will house 6,800 creatives.
Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism is driving forward efforts to attract talent from all nationalities and communities. With Dubai returning to normality, a key focus will be on leveraging the strategic, legislative and regulatory enablers that are being constantly rolled out, including multiple visa categories that create pathways for deeper engagement in Dubai. These initiatives give more flexibility and options for a new generation of creative talent, entrepreneurs and innovators to come and remain in the emirate while bringing Dubai closer to its goal of becoming the most sought-after destination to visit and the best city in the world to live and work in.
As per Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai’s directives, tenants rebuilding or renovating their properties to benefit the creative community in Al Quoz Creative Zone are exempt from rent for up to two years. Dubai Culture has also provided the opportunity for artisans, creatives and manufacturers in Al Quoz to apply for the long-term cultural visa approved by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, in 2019.
Al Quoz joins Rental Index
With the zone joining the Dubai Land Department’s Rental Index, tenants can now calculate rental increase and average rent in the real estate market. Change of land uses from industrial to creative purposes is being supported and tenants’ processes for obtaining approvals and licenses being facilitated.
Through various partnerships with the public and private sector, Dubai Culture has provided a number of services within the framework of the ‘Creatives’ Journey’, including the Zoho app to manage operations of businesses by creatives. It has also partnered with Commercial Bank of Dubai to provide smart banking solutions for entrepreneurs. Dubai Culture has worked with Letswork, an electronic platform to help provide affordable solutions for places to work.
Al Quoz Creative Zone Dashboard
And effective system has been developed to track the project’s progress via the Al Quoz Creative Zone Dashboard. The first-of-its-kind dashboard, which includes inputs from several governmental and semi-governmental entities, helps get a comprehensive view of the project’s performance which is measured through several pillars. Indicators cover infrastructure; management of the creative zone, development projects; governance frameworks; activation of the creative zone; facilities, their diversity, events and opportunities; and impact of the zone on creative community interaction and satisfaction, besides its economic and social impact within Dubai.
Urban analysis and masterplan
As part of the project’s master plan, an urban analysis of the area has been completed by Dubai Municipality and an economic study drawn up. The project’s final master plan will take into account several carefully considered aspects, including utilising existing facilities instead of redeveloping them; building on the existing elements of success; integrating efforts with existing initiatives and setting an economically feasible development programme.
Activation of Street No. 6
As part of the plan, there were studies conducted on the activation of Street No. 6 as an attractive destination and a pedestrian-friendly environment and the provision of meeting spaces that allow for a unique exploration experience.
New bus service, flexible mobility
A new bus service has been formed linking Al Safa Metro Station to Al Quoz Creative Zone. Work on the external bus wrapping for buses on the route was also completed, with the service becoming operational in June. Further, designs for the area’s street signages are now complete, including those at the community’s entrance.
The flexible mobility and transportation project aims to promote the integration of flexible mobility means and provide a stimulating and friendly environment for walking and cycling. The project will be implemented across two phases. In the short term, Al Safa Metro Station and Al Quoz Bus Station will be linked to Al Quoz Creative Zone through pedestrian and bicycle paths and individual means of transportation spanning 3.5km, providing three transportation centres, in addition to a pedestrian and bicycle bridge on Al Manara Street.
In the long term, the project will include the provision of pedestrian and bicycle paths and individual transportation spanning 13 km to connect the area’s major destinations, in addition to the setting up of multi-use yards for various activities and events as well as the addition of new mobility centres and landscaping.