Regional Manager Middle East Africa
WATG, Abu Dhabi
In a world with many standalone, single-use buildings and suburban low-rise residential subdivisions, we are beginning to see a shift in where we live and how we live, especially within the Middle East, towards a more integrated, culturally and topographically varied urban environment. It’s an exciting time to be an urban designer, let alone in one of the most progressive cities and countries in the world. Particularly in this part of the world, developments transform, seemingly overnight, from gridded plats of land into thriving places to live, work and play – but only if extensive thought and care are fused into the planning process before shovels hit dirt. Determination of parcel size, modes of connectivity, amenity areas and community management are all major decisions that have to be undertaken with a long-term view. All of these pieces assembled together have helped create a successful urban community, which can be considered a template for other developments within the region and around the world.
This presentation is from the unique personal perspective of one of the first residents within a particular urban mixed-use community, who has not only watched, but participated in its growth for the past seven years. The concept of “designing destinations” with integrated services and a hospitality mindset is introduced, fusing the words “urban” and “community” together in the unique local context of Abu Dhabi.