Dubai is not just about its skyscrapers: in its hinterland, in the desert, a brand new “Sustainable City” has emerged from the land. The families and businesses that live there translate their environmental concerns into their daily lives.
Less than 25 km from downtown Dubai, the desert has given way to a “sustainable city”, a residential experience focused on the environment.
For the director of an emirate research center specializing in sustainable development, this project like many others is driven by the desire for positive change.
“This Sustainable City is rooted in the global financial crisis ten years ago,”says Karim El-Jisr, executive director of the See Institute. “This,” He continues, “really made us aware of the need to adopt another model that makes sense both ecologically and economically.”
In the middle of nowhere, this new City brings together today families and small businesses who share the same values.
Ola Sinna, co-owner of Spill the Bean, tells us more about the activity of her coffee shop: “We try to be as environmentally friendly as possible and we could not find a better place to we install this sustainable city,”she assures before adding:” We cook all our products in small batches, so we are always preparing new ones, so they are fresh all time is the same for our supply of fruits and vegetables, we try to use local production and do not waste anything, “says the young woman.
This sustainable city built for 3000 residents has 500 villas and 89 apartments. The solar panels that cover the roofs of homes, car parks and businesses produce enough energy to make the city self-sufficient. “It is an international example of high sustainable standards,” says our reporter Rebecca McLaughlin-Eastham.
Dubai has just adopted its fiftieth anniversary charter, which includes the commitment to have 10% self-sufficient homes for their water, food and energy needs.
“In this fiftieth anniversary charter, one of the articles provides for the construction of a set of self-sufficient residences,” says Ivano Ianelli, managing director of the Dubai carbon center of excellence. “And with that in mind, we’re seeing how to readjust the first batch of villas,” he adds.
Stefani Schachtschabel, founder of The Sustainability Platform, an international organization based in Dubai, adds: “I believe that the Dubai government takes its role in sustainable living very seriously: it does not just talk, communicate about it, he is really investing in this area to become a more sustainable destination. “.”
500 km of cycle paths
Its investments include the development by 2022 of 500 km of bike paths. Half has already been done as in Al Qudra. An English cyclist provides:”It’s awesome ! Go out here in the morning and watch the sun rise, it’s really cool !”
Alex, a Scottish comrade, adds: ” We are very lucky to have this track in Al Qudra: that way, it’s easier for us to train and I live here, so it’s really simple..”
Henri, a Belgian cyclist, is also enthusiastic: ” Coming here and having 140 km of bike paths, without a car, only for bicycles, it’s fantastic: for me, these are unique conditions, we do not find that in Europe.”
Recycled plastic swimsuits
The city has many projects and companies with a sustainable conscience. This stylist, for example, uses recycled plastic in the oceans for her line of swimsuits.
“Sustainable fashion is essential to truly benefit our planet,” Alana Sorokin, Joseph Alexander’s stylist, says, “and convey messages about sustainable development and plastic pollution, of course.”
Stefani Schachtschabel, from The Sustainability Platform, comments: “There we are in the creek, but if we go back a little bit in history, the people lived in the desert, which implies a way of sustainable life, so this notion is rooted in the heart of the Emiratis. ”
Next year’s Dubai World Expo 2020 will have three key words: sustainability, opportunity and mobility. This will result in the project to reduce, recycle and reconvert 85% of waste, the idea is to do more with less.
“A model to reproduce”
Doing more is precisely the call made by the executive director of the See Institute.
The Sustainable City can not stop there, “insists Karim El-Jisr.” As long as we do not have another 1000 “Sustainable Cities”, it will not make much difference to our planet: we will have succeeded when this model has been reproduced by ourselves and by others, “he hopes.
Will we all be entitled to a future made of energy efficient homes and electric cars? And if so, when?
“Now ! It’s time,” fun Ivano Ianelli of the Dubai carbon center of excellence looking at his watch. “My electric car is in charge at the moment we are talking, incentives exist for the first users and personally, I like to always have room to park in the electric vehicle area of a shopping center during the weekend. that the classic parking is complete, “he confides before concluding, pleased:” I also smile when in the middle of the summer, I receive the electricity bill for my house that has solar panels and who is connected and that I pay not half, but 10% of what pays my neighbor!”