A vision of the future
Pedestrian streets, long boulevards leading to a new Capital District, world-class museums, easily navigable roads and a city that makes the most of shade to reduce summer temperatures.
The plan for Abu Dhabi in 2030, updated for the Cityscape exhibition this week, is a city unrecognisable from the one we see today.
The Urban Planning Council plan, as shown in a Dhs18.5 million model of the city on display at Cityscape, calls for a city based around the Capital District, where many government departments will be encouraged to move, along with foreign embassies and consulates.
From there, giant ‘national boulevards’ will stretch out to the rest of the city - decorated with large monuments that reflect the country’s customs and its heroes.
These walkways are likely to be created from the existing roads on Al Khaleej Al Arabi Street, the Corniche and the ‘Mangrove Corniche’, according to the plan.
Large-scale, Dubai-style “freeways” are “necessary” but are to be kept to a minimum, designers of the latest version of the plan say.
They use the route in and out of Saadiyat Island as a clear example of where a freeway will be needed - with tens of thousands of new residents expected on the island, not to mention the huge numbers of tourists who are expected to be drawn there by the planned Louvre, Zayed and Guggenheim museums.
City planners also wanted to improve sustainability by cutting out the amount of hot pavement used and maximising shade to increase comfort and reduce the need for air conditioning.
The main points being promoted this week are:
Once a massive project that would bring people all the way to Yas Island, the tram project has been greatly reduced and will now not include Yas or Saadiyat islands. Nor will the system include carbon neutral city, Masdar. However, the tram will provide a long route through the city centre that will connect up many of its major landmarks as well as linking into new bus corridors.
The cityscape vision is of more than 200,000 people living there, with a mix of business and residential properties. Several key projects have stalled since the economic downturn but planners see this location as being a key part of their plan for the city. Capital District. The district will take up 45sq km, with more than 300,000 people working in the area. There will be giant statue-decorated boulevards and tram lines bringing large numbers of people to the area. It will also be the medical capital of the city.
According to TDIC, which oversees the island’s development, more than 120,000 will live here in the first phase of its development. The 2030 plan says that the population will increase beyond that but the expected population density for the island has been lowered. The island has a golf course and apartments, while the central attraction, the ‘cultural district’ will include the Louvre, Guggenheim and Zayed Museum. The Guggenheim’s design, in particular, looks radical
and modern, while an opera house will complete the look of the district.
This will be a major tourism and heritage site, which planners expect to hold the third city park - the existing two are in the Corniche and Mangroves. While the Corniche is a seafront park and the Mangroves represent the “urban wild”, the new park on Lulu would promote tourism, environmental education and commemoration. The Urban Planning Council envisions some modest development, but no building can be more than three stories high, except for mosques and a tower that will make the island easily identifiable from other parts of the city.