Sustainable Urban Regeneration Strategies for Deteriorated Neighborhoods Centers in UAE
Neighborhoods centers are credible indicators of the vitality of urban communities. A vivid neighborhood center depicts a sustainable community that enjoys high social capital, social cohesion and economic thriving. United Arab Emirates has been concerned with achieving sustainability in its urban housing sector. The initiated Estidama (sustainability) Community Pearl Rating System is an obvious example towards this trend. Some new Estidama-rated community designs have been developed recently and some are under construction now. But on the other hand, unfortunately many existing local urban communities are claimed to be far from being sustainable. Many of these existing UAE neighborhoods have deteriorated centers where the retail shops are either closed or have a limited economic activity, green areas and children playgrounds are quite rare and so on. This status, of course, hinders realizing the very meaning of sustainable communities. This research has two main objectives. First, is investigating the reasons behind the obvious deterioration of the neighborhoods centers in Al Ain city as an example of the Emirati cities. Second, is proposing strategies for urban regeneration of Al Ain neighborhoods centers, which of course can be extended to all other UAE cities. This research adopts a qualitative/quantitative method suitable for the nature of investigations required to realize the research objectives. Al Salamat neighborhood in Al Ain city was selected as a representative case study and has been investigated utilizing various relevant research tools including field observations, document analysis and the DepthmapX spatial analysis tool of Space Syntax. The defined reasons of the deterioration of the urban neighborhoods centers of the investigated case study have been subsumed under four categories namely; neighborhood density, urban/architectural context, accessibility, safety and security. Accordingly, a strategic framework for urban regeneration of the centers of the existing urban neighborhoods in Al Ain, and other UAE cities, has been proposed.
KeywordsSustainable Urban regeneration Neighborhood center Al Ain UAE
The researcher would like to thank the United Arab University for funding this research through the Seed Funding Program.
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