Capital town big draw with workers in Dubai

ABU DHABI — Scores of families, whose breadwinners stay and work in Abu Dhabi city and Dubai, have chosen to live in Al Rahba, a small township situated on the outskirts of the UAE capital city, and not all these families are in this town to escape the spiralling rents in Abu Dhabi or Dubai. On the contrary, many of them have willingly chosen to live in the tiny and quiet town for reasons not at all economic.

By Hakam Kherallah

Published: Mon 13 Jun 2005, 10:33 AM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 7:57 PM

"Economic factors are not behind their decision," says Tariq A. Suwaidy, a UAE national living in Al Rahba. "There is a British family living next to us. In fact, there were not many expatriates in our town, mainly populated by UAE nationals working in various government agencies. People coming to the town are now of different nationalities."

Many Al Rahba residents speak English and have no problem communicating with the new comers. "We have established good relations with the new residents. We have even had community barbecues," Tareq said.

Residents say expatriates previously living in Dubai were now coming to look for residences in the town. Many of them work in the Dubai Media City, which is not very far from Abu Dhabi. They are apparently seeking to escape the very high rents in what is now has become 'new Dubai' – areas undergoing extensive development alongside Shaikh Zayed Road in Abu Dhabi and in its neighbourhood.

Rents in Al Rahba are low compared to those in any of the main cities in the seven emirate federation. A huge house with open spaces and the traditional Arabic Majlis (sitting) area, can be rented for an amount ranging between Dh20,000 and Dh35,000, and this is very cheap compared to the skyrocketing rents in Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

But not everybody living in Abu Dhabi city and Dubai can think of making Al Rahba their home, because of the unavailability of schools suitable for the various communities.

"We have government and some privately-run schools. However, the private schools are mainly elementary schools. Families who have children in Grade 7 and above will have problems, unless they decide to live in Al Rahba and take their children to school everyday on their way to work in Abu Dhabi," said Tareq.

Another feature of Al Rahba is that bachelors are not warmly welcomed though Al Rahba is one of several developing townships along the highway, provided with all the basic facilities.

Another example is Al Shahama, which is close to Abu Dhabi and has many newly-built villa complexes and facilities. National residents say these township need more real estate development projects to attract increasing numbers of people wanting to escape hectic city life.

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