UAE Minister of Environment and Water to open Middle East Smart Landscape Summit

The UAE Minister of Environment and Water His Excellency Dr. Rashid Ahmad Bin Fahad is confirmed for the ribbon-cutting ceremony at the inauguration of the Middle East Smart Landscape Summit taking place on 27-28 May at the Jumeirah at Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi, under the patronage of Municipality of Abu Dhabi City (ADM).

Over 400 high-profile delegates have registered to attend the region’s leading landscape event including government authorities, landscape architects, urban planners, property developers, environmental specialists and the GCC Specialized Team of City Beautification who are working to enhance the co-operation between the regional countries within the field.

The 2-day Summit will see presentations given from over 20 regional and international experts including an update of the Abu Dhabi Irrigation Master Plan by Dr. Amar Jarar, Irrigation Expert at ADM, and the Abu Dhabi Sustainable Public Lighting Strategy by Martin Valentine, Lighting Expert at ADM.  From Dubai Municipality Ahmed Abdul Karim, Director of Public Parks and Horticulture Department, will be giving a speech that spotlights the accumulated experience of greening and horticulture to ensure sustainability in all natural and urban areas in the Emirate of Dubai.

International presentations will also be of particular interest to delegates eager to learn of successful urban landscaping projects that have increased the quality of life for residents and visitors in large cities. Kenneth Er, Chief Operating Officer at Gardens by the Bay in Singapore will be showcasing the award winning attraction that is located on reclaimed land in Singapore’s new downtown Marina Bay. London-based ecologist, environmentalist and master planner Gary Grant will be speaking about green roofs and living walls in hot and dry climates as part of bringing an ecosystem approach to urban landscape design.

The continued growth of the MENA region and quick recovery from the GFC has intensified demand for landscape products and services. The planned spend on major projects including theme parks and other tourist attracts across the region is US$3 trillion, and a fresh investment in the UAE construction industry is expected to provide the landscape sector around US$3.8 billion worth of new projects this year.

“With an increased focus by municipalities and property developers on sustainability, landscape architects and product manufacturers have the challenge of formulating designs and technologies that are smart, visually appealing and cost effective, with a view to protect natural resources”, said Jo Ann Jain, Director at event organizer Expotrade Global.

“This has created a strong need for education and the sharing of best practice, and committed professionals are using the Summit as a platform for connecting and contributing visions and opportunities for the advancement of the dynamic landscape industry”, added Jain.

Smart landscape technologies are being used to increase sustainability across the MENA, and an exhibition lounge at the Summit will see 25 quality suppliers from UAE, Lebanon, Portugal, Canada, USA, France, Australia and South Africa showcasing their cutting-edge solutions. Gold Sponsors include Desert Group, Convic, Fontana Fountains and Silver Sponsors include Crystal and Gulf Perlite.

Other presenters include Talal Al Ansari, Planning Manager at Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council, Hana Ameen Al Zarooni, Head of Nurseries at Dubai Municipality, Geoff Turnbull, Senior Design Manager at ALDAR Properties PJSC, Holley Chant, Executive Director of Corporate Sustainability at KEO International Consultants, Michael Holm, Senior Consultant at HOK and Ali Shehail, Landscape Consultant at Nakheel.

Expotrade Global is a conference and event organizer based in Melbourne, Australia, with a regional office in Dubai, UAE. Working alongside government authorities and industry organizations for close to 10 years Expotrade has delivered some of the most high-profile events in the infrastructure, IT, mining and resources, sustainability, banking and finance, lighting and energy sectors.

More information on the event can be found at www.landscapesummit.com

Abu Dhabi unveils Dh1.5bn infrastructure upgrade across the emirate

The Executive Council yesterday approved plans to spend Dh1.5billion on infrastructure projects across the emirate.

The developments were announced yesterday at a meeting chaired by Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the Armed Forces.
The plans include work on an 80-kilometre, double-lane motorway linking Madinat Zayed with Ghayathi costing Dh267.5million.

Housing will also be built in Al Ain, with a bus depot being constructed in Khalifa City along with new street lighting and pavements.

The Ghayathi road project will include building roundabouts, junctions and fitting solar-powered lighting.
The existing road was upgraded in November with speed bumps, junctions, pedestrian walkways and roundabouts added.

There are seven roundabouts, ending the need for commuters to u-turn to change direction.
More upgrades are being warmly welcomed by the community, said Al Fandi Al Mazrouei, 27, who was born and raised in the area.

“Before, there were a lot of entries to the main road,” he said. “This led to more accidents for the cars.”
Congestion has also eased, he added.

But while the work is required, locals in Ghayathi said there were more pressing issues in need of attention.

There is a considerable lack of housing in the area, with certain groups of people – such as local women whose husbands have more than one wife – finding themselves at a loss.

“I am the second wife and I don’t get a home,” said one woman. “I live with my two young children in my father’s house. We need more housing and schools.”

Such concerns echo throughout the small community.

This evening, after celebrating the joint wedding of two of his younger brothers, Saleh Al Mazrouei will head home to a house he shares with his wife and four children – along with his mother and his four siblings’ families.

In the house next door, the living situation is even more cramped, said Mr Al Mazrouei. “This is my mother’s house, we have five families,” he said. “In the house next to us there are 13 families.”
Most housing in the area is for Government employees only.

But the Goverment is committed to building homes for Emiratis across the country, including in Ghayathi.
“It’s not like in Abu Dhabi where you can buy houses,” Mr Al Mazrouei said. “Now, Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed, he will give us more, and this house, this will be demolished.”

Built in 1988 – one of first houses constructed in Ghayathi – the cost of upkeep is too much, said Mr Al Mazrouei, who has requested a new house once some are built.

There are plans to build hundreds of new houses in the area, all for locals, said some long-term residents.
The area also needs new schools and healthcare facilities, a process that has already begun.
“There is a new school, Glenelg, which will maybe be ready in October,” said Mr Al Mazrouei.
When open, his two youngest children will be enrolled.

A new hospital, which Mr Al Mazrouei said would be the largest in the Western Region, is another of many pending projects.

“There will be three new gardens; we already have enough roads,” he said. “But there is one problem: the souq. It is very old.”

The upgrades will bring more people to Ghayathi, for work and for pleasure, said Al Fandi Al Mazrouei, who works in Ruwais.

“They are doing everything in Ghayathi,” he added.

“There will be new parks, they will build a water park – like Wild Wadi in Dubai – and they will build new housing in the North.

“It’s becoming bigger, step by step. And, of course, it will increase employment. It’s better than before, now.”

Source: The National

Green experts and VIP’s to attend sustainable landscape event in Abu Dhabi

Over 300 landscape architects, government authorities, urban planners, property developers, environmental specialists, contractors and landscape suppliers are expected to gather at the Middle East Smart Landscape Summit taking place at Jumeirah at Etihad Towers, Abu Dhabi on 27 – 28 May to discuss opportunities and strategies to develop sustainable landscaping practices in Arab cities.

His Excellency Dr. Rashid Ahmad Bin Fahad, UAE’s Minister of Environment and Water will be officially opening the Summit, and a number of other high-profile GCC government officials will also be attending the event, being held under the patronage of Municipality of Abu Dhabi City (ADM).

Jo Ann Jain, Director at event organiser Expotrade Global, believes that it is the right time for the landscape industry to connect. “The focus by municipalities and property developers on sustainability is greater than ever, and smart landscape planning and design play a big role in this change”.

“Landscape professionals are using the event as a platform to see what initiatives are being taken by product suppliers to encourage sustainability, and learn of the upcoming projects and strategies by local municipalities”, added Jain.

Key speakers include Dr. Amar Jarar, ADM’s irrigation expert, lighting expert Martin Valentine, Dubai Municipality’s Director of Public Parks and Horticulture Ahmed Abdul Karim, and Chief Commissioner of Aqaba Special Economic Zone Authority (ASEZA) Prof. Dr. Kamel Mahadin.

Local and international landscape suppliers will be showcasing their products at the event with Gold Sponsors Desert Group, Convic, Fontana Fountains, GHESA and Silver Sponsors Crystal and Gulf Perlite amongst the leading brands.

Delivered through a combination of key note presentations, case-studies, panel discussions and roundtable sessions the Summit will showcase ADM’s Irrigation Master Plan and Sustainable Public Lighting Strategy, sustainable landscape design by leading architects, smart landscape technologies, and discuss ways to build awareness and engage the community.

The continued growth of the MENA region and quick recovery from the GFC has intensified demand for landscape products and services. The planned spend on major projects including theme parks and other tourist attracts across the region is US$3 trillion, and a fresh investment in the UAE construction industry is expected to provide the landscape sector around US$3.8 billion worth of new projects this year.

UK-based green roof and living wall expert Gary Grant is one of the international guests to the Summit and will be encouraging the UAE to use an ecosystem services approach to infrastructure planning. Geoff Turnbull of ALDAR Properties PJSC, Holley Chant of KEO International Consultants and Geoffrey Sanderson, Principal Director at GCLA International will all sharing experience from working locally in the Middle East.

“The relatively recent introduction of ESTIDAMA planning and design regulations coupled with a growing global sense of responsibility for better resource management has effected a serious change in the landscape industry”, said Geoffrey Sanderson.

“Products and processes, landscape management and maintenance are all under challenge and rightly so. ESTIDAMA demands that almost every landscape element be sustainable but there is a great deal of confusion and inadequate data to support choices of materials, especially plants, irrigation rates, hard landscape materials and furnishing”, said Sanderson.

Expotrade Global is a conference and event organizer with head office based in Melbourne and regional office in Dubai. Specializing in B2B conferences Expotrade has delivered some of the most high-profile events in the infrastructure, IT, mining and resources, sustainability, banking, lighting and energy sectors.

More information on the event can be found at www.landscapesummit.com