Beating Stereotypes: Dubai Moves from Indoor to Outdoor

With the first Urban Design & Landscaping Expo launching in November, Ahmed Bukhash calls for sustainable urban design across the city’s growing outdoor spaces.
Dubai is transforming. Open-air recreational districts like La Mer, Al Seef and City Walk are sprouting across the city, pulling residents out of air-conditioned shopping malls.

  • “Just because we have a very hot weather for half of the year, it does not mean that if we create well-designed spaces, people will not use them,”

says Ahmad Bukhash, Director of Urban Planning at the Dubai Creative Cluster Authority and speaker at the first Urban Design & Landscaping Summit in November.

The new Al Seef District in Dubai
The new Al Seef District in Dubai

“Recent developments in Dubai are proving that well-designed spaces offer perfect conditions for people to enjoy outdoor areas even in the summer months.”

The new focus on urban landscaping goes well beyond recreational districts.

“Rather than just focusing on a building in its isolated self, Dubai’s future developments will increasingly invest in urban design and interconnectivity,”

announces Bukhash. According to the DCCA’s Urban Planning Director,

“It’s time to scrap the stereotype of Dubai as a city living and breathing exclusively during the cooler months. Now the trend is changing.”


Dubai's City Walk
Dubai’s City Walk
Heat can be controlled with good urban design elements and building placement. Factors like the wind flow, the sun and the light must be taken into consideration in the planning phase, Bukhash explains.

“Electricity spend for air conditioning is huge in Dubai; cost must and can be cut down through proper urban and architectural design. Proper design of outdoor public and shaded space can actually reduce the heat by 10 C°.”

Urban design is therefore going to play a growing role in the development of the city.

“This vital paradigm shift will transform Dubai to become a walkable and accessible city all year round,”

Bukhash predicts.

Dubai's City Walk
Dubai’s City Walk
Several projects like the latest ones developed by MERAAS are stimulating the demand to focus more on utilizing shading devices as well as high-end street furniture, hardscaping and softscaping materials in the UAE in order for the outdoor spaces to become an extension of the interior spaces.
La Mer, in Dubai
From 26 to 29 November, the first Urban Design & Landscaping Expo (UDLE) will run alongside The Big 5 international construction show at the Dubai World Trade Centre.
The event will display the most innovative solutions for the construction and maintenance of urban and green spaces, sports grounds and playgrounds, from around the globe. The UDLE will also host the high-level Urban Design & Landscaping Summit on November 28, gathering some of the most prominent local and international experts in the field.
Josine Heijmans, Portfolio Event Director of UDLE, says:

“There’s been no better time to invest in the urban design and landscaping sector in Dubai. We are excited to offer a brand new platform for industry professionals to connect, network, do business and learn. We are also extremely proud to support the further development of much needed green and outdoor spaces in the region,”

To know more about the Urban Design & Landscaping Expo, visit

Source: dmg events Press