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UAE’s booming construction industry is leading the way in sustainable development in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), according to recent research by built asset consultancy firm EC Harris
In view of mega-projects, such as the upcoming Expo 2020, and increased spending on social infrastructure, the UAE saw an estimated total value of US$315bn in announced and planned projects last year, according to the research.
Walter Bone, landscape design architect at Khatib and Alami, said, "Dubai and Abu Dhabi are definitely leading the way for sustainable development here in the MENA region, with the municipalities having provided minimum standards that all developers must adhere to."
The emirates are reportedly driving higher regional standards in the outdoor construction and design sector. UAE regulations stipulate that 25 per cent of a project’s development area must be set aside for environmentally-responsible landscaping.
"We are seeing many developers going above and beyond these standards and setting the bar for other developers to follow, which is great for the whole industry," Bone commented.
Furthermore, through its Estidama initiative, Abu Dhabi is said to be addressing sustainable development within the emirate. Industry professionals hope these initiatives will set a region-wide trend.
He added, "By providing landscaping amenities such as shaded areas, gathering places and so on, you make the quality of people’s lives so much better. This is a concept that has been adopted around the world for a very long time and since Dubai and Abu Dhabi have embraced it, we can look forward to seeing it being embraced in other parts of the region."
Nicholas Webb, managing partner of Streamline Marketing Group, organisers of the Outdoor Design and Build Show 2015, stated, "Dubai and Abu Dhabi’s forward thinking is providing an example to the rest of the region and once again confirms the UAE’s status as a regional leader."
He concluded, "By addressing sustainability issues now we are, quite literally, building for all our futures."