Developed by the Urban Planning Council (UPC), the masterplan puts in place a series of procedures to regulate Al Ain’s growth into a ‘dynamic hub’, which the municipality will have to ensure are followed by developers.
The regulations cover policies for land use, building heights and densities, a larger transport masterplan – which includes plans for high-speed rail link connections to Dubai and Abu Dhabi – and protected ‘green’ zones, specifically around the city’s six oases.
‘Our objective is to make a difference for Al Ain’s future generations by designing structures that can enhance sustainable social, cultural, environmental and economic aspects of the city,’ said the UPC’s General Manager Falah Al Ahbabi.
‘Al Ain is part of our overall 2030 vision for Abu Dhabi Emirate, a vision that is inspired by our history and crafted for future generations.’
The Plan projects that Al Ain will grow to house over a million residents by 203, with the population predicted to grow by 20% over the next five years, to 476,000. The city will be expanded on a linear form, around axes from the city centre. These will then be surrounded by conservation areas.
‘We are safeguarding Al Ain’s unique landscape by identifying protected ‘open space’ areas and providing awareness and education on the local environment. The oases will receive specialized treatment to help them thrive within the fabric of our society. Our traditional Bedouin patterns of life will be upheld through the creation of Fareej [extended houses around a central courtyard] which allow extended families to live together,’ said Al Ahbabi.
’Plan Al Ain 2030 offers a range of solutions to regulate the quality and quantity of new development projects, improve public transport, preserve the city’s unique character and create new open spaces and cool micro-climates for residents to share and enjoy.’
The city municipality is to continue to enforce the ban on developments over 20 metres in height, with the exclusion of mosques, and will oversee the creation of affordable housing areas. Emiratis currently account for upwards of a third of Al Ain’s population, and this balance is expected to continue.
‘The UPC is also committed to fostering long-term economic development. As such, the plan aims to make Al Ain a knowledge centre with world-leading museums, universities and businesses.
Rather than competing with the heavy industry, skyscrapers and shopping malls of our coastal cities, Al Ain will focus on attracting residents and tourists based on its unique cultural heritage and the quality of the lifestyle it offers,’ said Al Ahbabi. According to the plan, the city aims to attract one million tourists annually by 2030, from 200,000 currently.
The development will be undertaken in three phases, centering around the central district and key transit points, then a central transit corridor and the development of Emirati housing.
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