Still from video posted on social media by Abu Dhabi Media Office on the sidelines of the signing ceremony of the project Image Credit: Screengrab

Abu Dhabi: A new initiative to make Abu Dhabi more inclusive and accessible for people of determination and the elderly has began its pilot phase on Yas Island.

Get exclusive content with Gulf News WhatsApp channel

The Department of Community Development (DCD) - Abu Dhabi and Aldar Properties have signed an agreement to form the ‘People of Determination and Elderly Inclusive City Project’ across areas in Abu Dhabi to enhance accessibility and inclusivity. Yas Island will be the first piloted area where planning will take place in 2024 and the implementation scheduled for 2025.

The agreement enhances the partnership between DCD and Aldar Properties as they join forces to redesign Yas Island, making it a more inclusive and accessible community for people with disabilities and elderly. Their aim is to create an environment where both segments have extensive access to public spaces, residential communities, entertainment attractions, inclusive transportation options, and accessible information including digital ones. Through the agreement, they will be able to offer access to inclusive services across various sectors, including education, healthcare, employment, entertainment, sports and social services, ensuring inclusivity for all.

The agreement aims to consolidate cooperation and coordination in submitting applications and nominations for international awards in the field of disability inclusive cities. It also aims to prepare joint social studies that have a positive impact on enhancing the quality of life in Abu Dhabi.

'Exemplary model'

The agreement was signed by Dr Layla Al Hayas, Executive Director of the Community Development Sector at the Department of Community Development and Faisal Falaknaz, Group Chief Financial and Sustainability officer at Aldar Properties.

Screenshot from clip showing the agreement signing by Dr Layla (R) and Falaknaz (L) Image Credit: Screengrab

Dr Mugheer Al Khaili, Chairman of the Department of Community Development, said: “The partnership is in line with the commitment to enhancing cooperation and unifying efforts between private and government sectors towards the inclusion of people of determination and elderly. It also seeks to ensure a dignified life for both segments of the society, elevating their overall quality of life and improving provision and access to inclusive services, which is in alignment with the Abu Dhabi Strategy for People of Determination, the Wellbeing Strategy, the Livability Strategy, and the Sport For All Policy.”

Dr Al Khaili added: “The DCD strives to empower all segments of society, especially People of Determination and elderly by securing an inclusive and an accessible physical and social ecosystem that embraces everyone and enables them to enjoy equal opportunities and services which contributes to enhancing their quality of life. Therefore, we are pleased to embark on a fruitful partnership with Aldar Properties, a leading real estate company in the field of urban development, advancing inclusive communities’ solutions that meet the needs and desires of the entire society in Abu Dhabi.”

Al Khaili emphasised that this collaboration will contribute to the implementation of a pioneering project that is expected to serve as an exemplary model to be duplicated across the emirate.

Mohamed Al Mubarak, Chairman of Aldar, said: “Abu Dhabi continues to evolve as a city, pushing the boundaries of design and infrastructure to ensure that residents and visitors alike experience our emirate in a safe and accessible way. We have a responsibility to empower every individual and enable them to thrive, and by investing in accessibility, we not only remove physical barriers but shape a vibrant environment where everyone has the opportunity to experience the best of Abu Dhabi.”

He added: “This partnership aims to enhance accessibility meaningfully and pragmatically, aligning with the Universal Access Pillar, one of the pillars of the People of Determination Strategy, which ensures all facilities, experiences, services are inclusive for all. Starting on Yas Island, we hope this endeavor will inspire more positive change in the UAE, and set a precedent for others to follow.”