Revitalisation plan for Shahama and Bahia

Area planning will address issues ranging from housing to transportation. (CRAIG SCARR)

The Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC), in partnership with the Emirates Foundation, will launch next week an extensive revitalisation plan for the communities of Shahama and Bahia located along the Abu Dhabi-Dubai highway.

The project will involve local and international design experts coming together for a week-long brain storming session in early June, and will involve consultation with members of the community to research the community's needs. Results of this consultation will be presented to the community later in the year.

UPC's General Manager Falah Al Ahbabi said: "The UPC's community consultation in partnership with the Emirates Foundation is a pilot project. When the foundation approached us about Shahama, we were already working on an initial area programme. Our joint intention is to find out what the communities themselves believe they need in order to grow and prosper."

The consultation process is considered by the UPC as a step to demonstrate the importance of participation and collaboration of citizens in the implementation of Plan Abu Dhabi 2030.

Al Ahbabi added: "Our aim is to integrate citizens' feedback and concerns within our projects. To this end, my team is developing an advanced digital network concept to be called 'city e-motion', which will be operational by January 2009."

The UPC's objective is to set up a platform of contacts among generations from all over the Emirate and 'city e-motion' is expected to create an interactive relationship between the UPC and Abu Dhabi citizens.

"Citizens must take part in the future of Abu Dhabi," Ahbabi said.

The area planning for Shahama and Bahia will be completed this winter. It will address issues ranging from housing and community amenities, transportation, hospitals, schools, shops to landscaping and infrastructure. The result will be a revitalisation plan for the communities of Shahama and Bahia, and a concept plan for the greater area, which will implement the principles of Plan Abu Dhabi 2030 at the community scale.

The UPC was behind the well-received Plan Abu Dhabi 2030 vision for the future of Abu Dhabi, officially launched last year by the Executive Council. The document set out Abu Dhabi's overall residential, industrial, commercial and transport imperatives over the coming 20-plus years.

Ahmed Ali Al Sayegh, the Emirates Foundation's Managing Director, said: "Over centuries, the leaders of Abu Dhabi have consulted with community members and tribes as a key element in local culture. The consultations with the UPC's professional experts – and their engagement with community members – will develop this tradition along modern lines.

"This process aligns precisely with the role of the Emirates Foundation, which, above all, is to understand community needs, to engage the community and to co-ordinate with entities to provide for their needs."