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This was in Emirates 24 today:
Ajman launches plan to boost development
By Eman Al Baik
Published Sunday, April 04, 2010
Strategy designed to regulate use of land and expand and diversify housing opportunities. It lays emphasis on seven sectors. (EB FILE)
Ajman is going ahead with its development projects and is encouraging investments to achieve economic and social prosperity, said His Highness Sheikh Humaid bin Rashid Al Nuaimi, Ruler of Ajman and Member of the Supreme Council.
Sheikh Rashid bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, Chairman of Ajman Municipality and Planning Department, reaffirming the emirate's commitment to projects, said at the launch of the fourth Ajman International Urban Planning Conference recently that the emirate will announce the launch of three tourism projects and an authority to oversee tourism by the end of this year.
He said the conference, whose theme was 'Waterfront: New trends in urbanism and architecture', will help the emirate to assess its strategy for Ajman waterfront projects.
The waterfront strategy comes under the emirate's general strategy for the years 2010 to 2030, which is designed to achieve sustainable development in the economic, social and environmental fields.
Sir Geoff Hampton, Deputy Vice-Chairman of the United Kingdom's University of Wolverhampton, the conference co-partner, stressed the need to develop education to help achieve sustainable development. He said societies should be aware of the importance of offering quality education as it was the key to achieving development.
"The quality of healthcare and education should be perceived and understood by society in order to achieve sustainable development," he said.
Sir Geoff, who also took part in the 2009 conference, expressed his admiration for the development that has taken place in Ajman over the past year.
Sheikh Rashid stressed the need for a strategy for Ajman adding that the emirate's population had increased by 680 per cent from 36,000 inhabitants in 1983 – when the last strategy for the emirate was prepared – to 245,000 in 2008, an annual rate of growth of 8.2 per cent.
The Ajman 2010-2030 strategy, obtained by Emirates Business, sets out three possible scenarios for population growth.
It said if the economy and property sector resume the rate of growth seen before the crisis, the population will reach 2.2 million in 2030 – the limit of the emirate's capacity. But if the downturn in the property sector continues, the population will reach 1.3 million.
The third scenario, which the strategy said is unlikely to happen, involves the economy remaining stable at the current levels and the rate of population growth falling from 8.2 per cent to five per cent annually, resulting in a population of 650,000.
Approved property projects are expected to provide housing for 750,000 people, buildings under construction will provide housing for 350,000 and the development of land on both sides of Emirates Road would offer housing to 750,000 people. The capacity of land within the city is about 300,000.
The number of UAE nationals in Ajman is expected to reach 80,000 in 2030 and 150,000 in 2050.
The total building limits area of the emirate is 142 square kilometres and the current built-up area forms about 40 per cent of that, with urban developments accounting for a further 20 per cent.
"The remaining 40 per cent will be allocated for sustainable development projects and is equal in area to the current city of Ajman," said Sheikh Rashid.
The strategy said that the emirate is witnessing rapid growth as part of the urban sprawl urban emanating from Dubai and Sharjah. Another driving force behind the urban growth is the fact that the emirate is just 15 minutes' drive from Sharjah International Airport and 30 minutes from Dubai International Airport.
In addition, Emirates Road contributes to the rapid growth as it provides easy access to Sharjah, which has high building and population densities, and Dubai, a major regional economic hub.
The Dubai Bypass contributes to the spread of urban development towards the east, and Sharjah's major economic and commercial activities border Ajman from the south, east and the north.
Other major drivers are Ajman's development projects, including Emirates City on Emirate Road, Al Zorah multi-purpose and tourism project on the waterfront and Al Zorah Road, which is currently under construction and will link the new developments with Emirates Road. And a number of infrastructure projects involving roads, the sewerage network, waste recycling and energy in addition to the emirate's waterfront are also driving growth.
The strategy included two planning concepts designed to meet the needs of the emirate should any of the three scenarios happen. The first concept involves the expansion of multi-purpose projects that offer high floor area ratios (FAR) on Emirates Road and accelerating the building ratio in other, areas taking into account that land should be allocated to nationals to meet the expected increase in the Emirati population until 2050.
The second concept offers a solution to the second scenario, which assumes a continuing downturn in the property sector. An environment that attracts the elite to work and reside in the emirate should be established.
The strategy is designed to regulate the use of land and transportation, expand and diversify housing opportunities, develop road and other infrastructure networks, increase the level of diversified economic environment and offer the best possible social and public services.
Other objectives include better deployment of beaches and heritage cites, encouraging investment and development ideas that will help to form a future building environment and investing in solar energy to help achieve sustainable development.
The building development vision focuses on how the city should grow taking into account the use of land whether commercial and industrial, residential, tourist, infrastructure or entertainment and the interaction of the different functions with one another.
There are seven classifications of purpose. Urban districts: The strategy identifies eight urban districts that support the growth of the city and are linked with transportation corridors and green ways – the Central Business District, Down Town, Regional Growth Centre, Innovation Centre, Al Zorah Community Centre and three community centres.
The Central Business District contains the main commercial, tourism, and service activities and forms the centre of the currently inhabited areas and areas to be built in the future. Down Town is the old part of the city and includes heritage areas and traditional businesses and social activities such the Ajman Museum, Eid Musalla and the souq.
This district is situated behind the waterfront and links it to the modern developments. The Regional Growth Centre is a multi-purpose area on Emirates Road that offers a convenient environment for living and working and is ideal for setting up pan-emirates and regional businesses. It consists of high floor area ratio (FAR) towers.
The Innovation Centre is intended to offer ideal learning opportunities, art production and technical innovation that will attract outstanding and experienced people into the emirate and offer new types of economies.
The centre will also include a medical city, an international university, a centre for media and art production, entertainment city and international park among others. Al Zorah Community Centre is a multi-purposes project being built on a 12 million square metre site at Al Zorah consisting of coastal and reclaimed land with a 12km waterfront. It is an integrated tourist and community project with a five-star hotel and education and health services for residents.
The other three community centres are for multi purposes use and are intended to meet a shortage of services in some areas of the city. Industrial districts: Al Jarf Industrial and the Industrial Area will be provided with infrastructure, plant and utilities to help cater to new commercial and industrial activities.
Tourism: Services will be upgraded to make the city an ideal location for tourism, in particular the conference segment. Ajman's waterfront stretches for 30km, including the waterfront that Al Zorha will provide. The Creek will be developed and new heritage cites will attract tourists.
Parkway corridors: A network of parkways that will surround residential areas.
Residential areas: These are classified under six types: UAE nationals' housing, eco-tourism residences, high floor area ratio, moderate floor area ratio, multi-family housing and workers' accommodation.
Transport and road network: This will provide a high rate of traffic flow through a system of highways, major arterials, arterials and other routes. The strategy recommends the building of a number of bridges and intersections to allow better flow and meet a future increase in population and building expansion. Recently two bridges were opened in Al Hamidiya and another two were inaugurated last year.
The strategy gives a high priority to the adoption of mass transport facilities to help reduce congestion. The city's ring road will be developed to solve the trucks problem and heavy vehicles will be prevented from using other roads. The ring road takes traffic to Emirates Road and the Dubai Bypass.
Public utilities and energy infrastructure: Enhancements are needed in these areas and the strategy offers an integrated scheme that would ensure sustainable development was achieved. Waste and water recycling plants should be set up to help support greenery, cooling and irrigation projects. Alternative energy sources such as solar and wind should be adopted to meet the emirate's needs.
Two agreements designed to help Ajman meet its objectives were signed during the recent opening ceremony of the Ajman International Urban Planning Conference at Ajman University of Science and Technology.
Sheikh Rashid signed an agreement with Mattar Al Tayer, Chairman and Executive Director of Dubai's Roads and Transport Authority.
The agreement is intended to boost co-operation in a number of areas, including marine transport, training and infrastructure.
In addition, Sheikh Rashid signed an agreement with Jean-Pierre Lecomte, President of the Worldwide Network of Port Cities, making Ajman a member of the organisation, which has 132 member cities around the world.
The network will support the emirate as it executes its waterfront plan and will put the emirate on the world map of waterfront cities.
Sheikh Humaid honoured the emirate's partners, including Lord Falconer, Chairman of the United Kingdom's Thames Gateway London Partnership, Prince Abdul Aziz bin Mohammed bin Aiáf, the Mayor of Riyadh, Dhifallah Al Qutaibi, Secretary-General of Saudi Arabia's Eastern Province, Lecomte, Sir Geoff Hampton, Deputy Vice-Chairman of the University of Wolverhampton, and Abdullatif bin Abdulmalik Al Sheikh of the Riyadh Department Authority. In addition, 52 speakers at the conference were honoured by Sheikh Ammar bin Humaid Al Nuaimi, Crown Prince of Ajman.