World Urban Forum 10 set to open in Abu Dhabi

Al Kkhadar 2020World Urban Forum 10 will be held from 8-13 February 2020 in Abu Dhabi, the UAE, exchanging views and experiences on sustainable urbanisation

Mohamed Al Khadar Al Ahmed, executive director of strategic affairs at Department of Municipalities and Transport (DMT) and general coordinator of the World Urban Forum 10, said, “Next February we are looking forward to the tenth World Urban Forum in Abu Dhabi, with its theme: “Cities of Opportunities: Connecting Culture and Innovation” and this will be the first time that an Arab country will host the world’s most important conference on cities and human settlements.”

At the centre of our discussions will be urban growth management – a comprehensive subject that is at the very essence of the work of WUF10 organisers UN-Habitat. To put clarity around this, urban growth management has become a common term to outline strategies and tools to regulate urban land use in metropolitan areas.

This subject should not be seen as one which is purely a technical exercise, but an approach that runs deep. Urban growth management goes beyond the architects and city planners and relates to how cities are governed, the way that regional government relates to the individual. It can inspire, fostering a sense of civic responsibility and encouraging a flowering of communities.

Deeper still, this process is steering sub-national governance for development, for a process which can promote citizen engagement, foster a sense of civic responsibility and stimulate development. Ultimately, this betters society and can all ultimately improve state-society relations and advance peace-building and state-building goals. Therefore, Urban Growth Management is something truly elevated.

Developing the UAE

Urban growth management has particular value in a new and developing nation such as the United Arab Emirates – a shade under 50 years old. Its urban environment and in particular Abu Dhabi is marked by being fresh and new. It is architects and city planners which have helped to guide a nation, advance its culture and stimulate development. 

Urban growth management is particularly essential for Abu Dhabi which is moving up several levels in a rapid manner – and an urban knowledge economy is at the core of the future vision for the emirate as it shifts away from an oil-based economy. Plan Abu Dhabi 2030 is one expression of this – as it provides conceptual solutions to shape the growth of Abu Dhabi over the next quarter of a century, addressing the major urban issues of environment, land use, transportation, open space and image of the capital city.

Plan Abu Dhabi 2030 provides plans and policies that shape Abu Dhabi Emirate as the leading global 21st-century Arab city and includes factors such as sustainability, infrastructure capacity, community planning and high quality of life for all. The plan his building the foundations for future generations and providing inspiration for the forward-thinking world capital. This strategy has put a great deal of emphasis on sustainable development to preserve and promote Abu Dhabi’s physical, environmental and cultural identity.

The government has identified nine major pillars that form the Emirate’s social, political and economic future: a large empowered private sector; a sustainable knowledge-based economy; an optimal, transparent regulatory environment; a continuation of strong and diverse international relationships; the optimisation of the Emirate’s resources; premium education, healthcare and infrastructure assets; complete international and domestic security; maintaining Abu Dhabi’s values, culture and heritage; and a significant and ongoing contribution to the Federation of the UAE.

The Next Stage

“In this region, cities face intense urbanisation challenges and WUF10 provides us with an opportunity to begin visualising the next chapter of sustainable urban development. How we design and manage our growing cities will determine their liveability and vitality. For Arab cities to become sustainable while remaining culturally distinct.”

“This event will be a catalyst for urban growth management discussion and debate, highlighting the opportunities for dialogue, knowledge sharing, and partnership that lie latent in the community of urban stakeholders of our region. At WUF10, we will demonstrate that Arab cities are experimenting with innovative approaches and conceiving solutions to some of our toughest common challenges.”

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