Urban Oases: Generating Polycentric Communities in the Middle East

Mounib Hammoud
Jeddah Economic Company, Jeddah

Reflecting on more than 30 years of personal experience in land and real estate development throughout the Middle East, this presentation relays the drivers behind the region’s move toward polycentric urban development, through the exploration of several case studies. Stops along the way include the reconstruction of Beirut’s city center around nine unique activity areas, a project comprising 191 hectares, including 73 hectares reclaimed from the sea. With marinas, open views to sea and mountains, and a planned city park, the Beirut Waterfront District is envisioned as an integrated and sustainable urban environment. The Beirut project incorporates a triple-A office tower of the highest international standards, with a large podium, as a contemporary interpretation of the porous urbanism that creates the unique character of the Middle Eastern souk with its sheltered passageways.

The story embraces Al Zorah, the premier mixed-use and hospitality destination in Ajman, UAE, comprised of five distinct neighborhoods, where some 60 percent of the land area is devoted to open space. Next, it takes us to Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where the Golden Tower is rising as a new landmark on the city’s famed Corniche. With a sense of space and openness, maximized through expansive views of the sea and local urban scenes, the tower caters to a modern luxurious lifestyle while remaining rooted in the local culture through its attention to privacy. The presentation continues with detailed insights about developing fully-fledged communities with tall buildings at their cores, balancing the cultural and market needs with stewardship of the environment and preservation of rich local history.

Accompanying PowerPoint Presentation