UPC master plan for Baniyas, South Wathba

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UPC master plan for Baniyas, South Wathba

The Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC) unveiled the Baniyas and South Wathba Revitalisation Master Plan to accommodate 50,000 people, most of them Emiratis, in both regions in two decades.

By Anwar Ahmad

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Published: Sun 24 Jul 2011, 11:41 PM

Last updated: Thu 2 Apr 2015, 6:01 AM

Baniyas and South Wathba are located south-west of Abu Dhabi Island around 20km off the city. The overall planning area in both regions consists of an approximately 7,000 hectares.

It currently houses almost 69,000 residents in both regions, with over 7,000 existing homes across an area spanning 6,500 hectares, the large population of which is Emirati nationals.

The master plan is aligned with the principles of both Vision 2030 and the Capital 2030 Urban Structure Framework Plan, and aims to revitalise Baniyas-South Wathba to create a sustainable, vibrant and complete community.

Talking to reporters at a meeting on the UPC premises in the Capital, Amer Al Hammadi, Director of Urban Planning and Infrastructure at the UPC, said the master plan will see the creation of a cohesive urban fabric to become a benchmark for community public space planning and neighbourhood centres.

He said that Baniyas and South Wathba have a significant concentration of UAE citizens, numbering 36,000 or 58 per cent of the total Baniyas and South Wathba population.

The plan was developed by the UPC in close coordination with the Abu Dhabi Municipality (ADM) and key stakeholders, and covers the areas of Baniyas, South Wathba and Al Nahda, one of the oldest Emirati communities in the UAE.

Al Hammadi said that the concept of the Baniyas Revitalisation Master Plan is to focus on creating a sense of community. This will be achieved by developing a hierarchy of district, neighbourhood and local centres to provide services for existing and future residents.

Integrated community facilities and a range of public spaces will ensure that residents have easy access to amenities. The concept of mixed use activity centres plays an important role in the revitalisation strategy.

Furthermore, streetscapes throughout the community will be revitalised to provide well-connected, safe and comfortable routes for walking and cycling, he said.

Explaining about the project, Al Hammadi said that new plots for Emirati housing will be allocated and existing homes will be revitalised to improve the quality of housing to meet the needs of the residents.

The concept for the new Emirati housing types has been driven by a courtyard lay-out within a traditional ‘fareej’ neighbourhood design concept that is both environmentally and culturally sustainable. In a statement, Falah Al Ahbabi, General Manager of the UPC, said: “Our leadership’s commitment reflects the importance of the suburbs as a key area for the city’s Emirati population growth over the next 20 years. Baniyas and South Wathba remains one of the largest and most ambitious opportunities for sustainable urban revitalisation in Abu Dhabi.”

The plan aims to promote a prosperous living environment and increased economic activity. It also demonstrates that existing communities can be effectively revitalised through the implementation of transportation, community facilities and housing options while building on the existing social fabric and infrastructure framework, Al Ahbabi said.

Baniyas and South Wathba comprise some of the emirate’s oldest housing communities with their own individual characteristics.

The successful integration of these communities with the emerging metropolitan area is a key focus of our revitalisation master plan and an important precondition for the successful realisation of vision 2030, Al Ahbabi said. — anwar@khaleejtimes.com

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