Dawood Al Hajiri speaking at a session titled ‘Rethinking Cities of Tomorrow: A Human-Centric Approach’. Image Credit: Virendra Saklani/Gulf News

Dubai: Dubai is developing a “human-centric” urban masterplan for 2040, the chief of Dubai Municipality said at the World Government Summit on Tuesday.

The plan will integrate services and infrastructure around the needs of residents, Dawood Al Hajiri, director-general of Dubai Municipality, said while addressing a session titled ‘Rethinking Cities of Tomorrow: A Human-Centric Approach’.

Al Hajiri said every resident has his or her “own story” and “we are here today to talk about how to create from these stories a city that places humans as the top priority, to always listen to the human stories”.

Al Hajiri added that this follows remarks by His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, that “the most precious thing we have is the human being”.

“We will build a city of the future through the active participation of innovators, technologists, artists and the public. For this purpose, we have a dedicated application for feedback — ‘Dubai: How You See It 2040’,” Al Hajiri said.

The 2040 plan will be aligned to the eight principles of governance in Dubai announced recently by Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid.

Studies show that urban planning impacts physical and mental health, with poor planning contributing to conditions such as obesity, hypertension and social isolation.

Details of the new 2040 plan, which follows the Dubai 2020 Urban Master Plan, were not announced.

Al Hajiri said Dubai will deploy the latest technology, best practices in sustainability and use feedback from residents to realise the 2040 plan.

“The world is looking at Dubai as the city of the future, as Shaikh Hamdan mentioned yesterday,” he added.

He was referring to Monday’s main address at the summit by Shaikh Hamdan Bin Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai, who said the goal is to put Dubai 10 years ahead of the rest of the world’s cities, and shared his vision about the pillars on which the goal can be achieved.

Al Hajiri said the 2040 plan will be aligned to Shaikh Hamdan’s announcement.

He mentioned that cities must be pedestrian-friendly to encourage walking and also be easy to navigate for people of determination.

He questioned why “the only safe place for children to play in cities is inside the house or in front of digital screens.”

Al Hajiri said: “We have started to listen to these unheard stories. Urban planning can find the solutions for these stories. The internet has made life easier – you can pay bills or even purchase a new house without stepping outside your home.

“Technology today is a great blessing, but it has also changed the way we live. Urban planning will create a balance between digital and physical infrastructure.”

He added: “Let’s talk about a new methodology in our urban planning for the happiness of human beings as the top priority.”