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New address system rolls out in Abu Dhabi

Filed on November 13, 2013
New address system rolls out in Abu Dhabi

Streets, districts to get new names by 2015

Muroor Street, aka Fourth Street, aka East Road, will have a new fourth name: Sultan bin Zayed Al Nahyan.

This major artery in Abu Dhabi is just one of 12,000 new street names that will be introduced in Abu Dhabi emirate, along with 200 new district names, 20,000 new road and district signs that will ease access to 200,000 addresses.

The project, which already started in the Capital a few months ago, was officially launched on Tuesday by the Department of Municipal Affairs (DMA) with the deadline for completion at the end of 2015.

“A smart, new addressing system for Abu Dhabi will establish a unique identity for the emirate, combining a fresh, modern outlook with the best of our local culture. It will put the emirate on the map as a desirable location and a destination of choice,” said Majid Al Mansouri, Chairman of the DMA.

The system is based on globally recognised standards and is meant to modernise and standardise the way places are named and located, creating the first universal platform for addresses across the emirate. As a result, it will enable work across government to be more joined up and services to be better targeted.

“Designing and implementing the new addressing system is the largest project the municipality has ever undertaken. Our journey began several years ago identifying every district, road and building in the emirate of Abu Dhabi. We found that a vast amount of information already existed, but was spread across various agencies. We brought all this information together, analysed where the gaps were and set about the task of re-mapping the entire emirate into a coordinated system fit for purpose both now and in the future,” explained Al Mansouri.

He said one of the major challenges was choosing the street names, which are all names (no more numbers) reflecting the UAE history, culture and heritage. Some streets will carry names of shaikhs and historical figures of the UAE, others will celebrate key geographical locations in the country, such as Hameem Street inspired by the old village of Hameem in Liwa and, in the future, even names of other Arab cities and personalities will be used. The street signs for the new street names resemble those of Paris, although Al Mansouri said they were designed specifically for Abu Dhabi.

“We consulted with local experts to ensure that the Arabic is true to our dialect, culture and heritage. The signs have been transliterated rather than translated, ensuring we maintain our national identity. A new brand has been created — Onwani — which will form the basis of a publicity campaign to inform the public of the change that is coming,” he said.

The street names are chosen by a specially created committee for Onwani (Arabic for “my address”) under the DMA and many are yet to be decided.

“We will have a majlis meeting with people from Al Bateen to choose the names for this area,” said Dr Abdullah Ghareeb Al Bloushi, chairman of the new system committee and executive director of the DMA.

He also told Khaleej Times that for now, four areas in and around Abu Dhabi are worked on to change the street names – Al Nahyan, Bahia, Mariah island and Al Falah.

Once the project will be done for the entire emirate, the DMA will propose the system for the rest of the country and it will also propose to use it to finally establish home and office postal services. — silvia@khaleejtimes.com

Silvia Radan

I'm a senior journalist with 22 years experience in all forms of mass media. Originally from Romania, I lived and work in Bosnia, Uzbekistan, England and, for the past 10 years, in UAE. I specialize in art, culture, traditions, heritage, but also environment and the hospitality industry. I'm passionate about jazz and world music, cinema, mythology and offroading - I'm a marshal with one of UAE's offroading clubs!


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