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Future Dubai

Top 10 principles of resilient urban cities in the Middle East

Cities in the GCC are expected to rise in population by 90% by 2050, highlighting the importance to safeguard and prepare cities for the future. Architecture, planning and design firm CallisonRTKL (CRTKL) lists the top 10 principles that are important for designing resilient urban cities in the Middle East.

The GCC is one of the most highly urbanised parts of the world, with 85% of the population living in cities, and this is expected to rise to 90% by 2050. As such, the focus is now on how to make urban spaces function optimally while enhancing the quality of life as communities in the region continue to transform and evolve.

Matthew Tribe, Executive Director at CallisonRTKL said: “Building resilience is an expanding theme in today’s world. Now more than ever, the ability to cope and adapt to challenging and changing circumstances and emerge stronger than before is essential in helping cities navigate uncertainties. As such, several entities have come together to develop solutions and implement policies to drive better outcomes for local communities and residents, allowing all parties to play their part in ensuring resilience within the buildings they live, work and play in.   

CRTKL lists its top 10 principles for resilient urban cities in the Middle East:

1. Density and polycentricity

Dense urban environments operate more efficiently, walkable, and have greater transportation options.

2. Mixed-use

Restrictive land-use regulation and the zoning approach have led to segregation, resulting in the deterioration of some neighbourhoods in the modern cities. Mixed-use urban systems create layers of communities and visitors; reducing the need for private vehicles, generating foot traffic, and fostering interaction among people, which are all factors that benefit local economies.

3. Mobility

A resilient city promotes walkability and social interaction through the seamless connections between its districts.

4. Walkability and greenery

Neighbourhood plans must optimize and provide all amenities for all our day-to-day needs, this distance is widely regarded as being a 10 to 15-minute walk or an 800-metre radius.

5. Identity and attraction

The enhancement of a city identity and developing a greater sense of place, the preservation of its natural assets, landscapes, and cultural heritage together within rich and ever-evolving art and cultural offerings is essential.

6. Diversity, inclusivity, equality, accessibility, and safety

Every urban environment should celebrate diversity and breed inclusivity. For a community to thrive and become future proof, members need to enjoy places where they feel identified, safe, and accepted.

7. Affordability

Currently, governments must prioritise investment in basic infrastructure for mid-to-low-income citizens.

8. Carbon neutrality

To invert the effects of climate change, which include the rise of the sea level, hurricanes, and droughts. Urban environments of the future should generate 100% of their energy needs on-site and with the built environment proficiently energy efficient.

9. Technical and digital innovation

The ability to absorb, recover, and prepare for future shocks depends on data availability and the capacity to analyse them promptly. If an urban environment aims to survive, it must allow data to be collected and be used responsibly.

10. Flexibility

The principal characteristic of urban systems is their constant transformation. Communities change in time and they develop different needs and demand new services. Our neighbourhoods must be able to evolve alongside them.

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