‘Business not only in shopping malls’, planning head at Dubai Municipality says
Urbanisation in Dubai will not be limited to the existing zones created by the Expo planning committee, and could be expanded to other areas after the world event has concluded in the city.
Najib Mohammed Saleh, head of the Planning and Research section at Dubai Municipality’s Planning Department, spoke exclusively to Big Project ME and said that development would continue to be undertaken in the emirate if population growth rates soar beyond expected targets.
Saleh had earlier, while addressing a conference in Dubai, highlighted the emirate’s growth from its earliest construction beginnings in Al Fahidi, Al Ras and Shindaga areas to its current landmarks, such as Palm Jumeirah. When probed about the work being undertaken at traditional locations such as Al Fahidi, he revealed the emirate’s plans for the same.
“Al Fahidi remains the most important trading hub in the city,” Saleh said. “Even today, most trading activities take place there. Business is not only in the shopping malls.
“We (Dubai Municipality) are in talks with the UN to register the creekside in Old Dubai as a heritage site,” Saleh revealed, hinting at major infrastructural revamps that might be undertaken at and around Al Seef Creek and Fahidi Souq in Bur Dubai.
Additionally, Saleh claimed development would continue around Dubai’s other zones even after the Expo 2020. “The committee (preparing for the Expo) adopted the medium growth plan scenario, where we expect the total population to reach around 2.8mn,” said Saleh. “In the case of high growth numbers, the total urban area can extend up to 3.4 hectares.
“Our current development plans don’t go beyond Dubai Outer Bypass Road, but that doesn’t mean the city won’t grow. Land will continue to be available for development, but only after 2020,” Saleh added.
Speaking of the increased construction capacities in the emirate, Saleh said upcoming projects, such as hotels and residential buildings would cover the existing demand for them in the city. “We have statistics from the tourism board that show we’re still short on rooms. This is easily noticeable when major events are held in the country.
“There is definitely scope for three and four-star hotels to be developed as extensively in ‘New Dubai’ as they are in ‘Old Dubai’,” Saleh added.