|UAE Capital Embraces 'Green' Future|
By Talal Malik
August 7, 2008
UAE capital embraces 'green' future
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An artist's impression of one of Abu Dhabi's proposed eco-villages.Abu Dhabi is
planning to build a national park with both green and sand belts in order to
preserve the emirate’s ecological system over the next 23 years.
Outlined in the recently published urban structure framework ‘Plan Abu Dhabi
2030’, the government said it wants to ensure that as development in the emirate
increases, important ecological resources such as mangroves and sea grass beds
as well as migratory birds will be protected.
Abu Dhabi’s government says the best way to achieve this is through the
establishment of a national park system running adjacent to the city, where
development would be forbidden and all activity carefully regulated to ensure
that all aspects of the emirate’s ecological identity are preserved.
With Abu Dhabi’s urban expansion in mind, the government has also created the
notion of a ‘Green Gradient’, marking increasing echelons of development from
the core of the national park to the urban core of the city.
The ‘Green Gradient’ would have five levels of increasing inhabitation, said the
government, beginning with ‘Park Core Islands’, where development is strictly
controlled, followed by ‘Park Edge Islands’, which permit a greater range of
activities and structures to ‘City Buffer Islands’, ‘City Edge Islands’ and
finally ‘Island Eco-Villages’.
Eco-villages, though small, would approach the same residential densities as the
urban areas of Abu Dhabi city.
As part of the Plan’s ‘Environmental Framework’, the government also plans to
have a sand belt surrounding the city, defining the limits of development and
preventing an urban sprawl. Outside the sand belt, development would only be
permitted in ‘Desert Eco-Villages’ along the axis to Al Ain.
Over concerns that development towards Dubai will create an endless sprawl, and
cut the desert off from the water, the government has also proposed the notion
of ‘Desert Fingers’ - undeveloped buffers between the city, each coastal town,
and Dubai, giving wildlife access to the protected coastal areas.