THE FUTURE OF SUSTAINABILITY
What issues have you seen thanks to nonsustainable approaches to what happens once a development is completed?
At The Sustainable City, we underpin the importance of sustainability not just to combat current environmental challenges but also as a way of life. Societies have for long struggled with the overconsumption of energy and water, and many people still live under the notion that it’s OK for them to consume because all others are doing the same. We want to actively change that thought process to a more positive one by educating them that they can enjoy their lives uncompromisingly while still taking steps towards a greener state of being.
What does the industry have to do, as a matter of urgency, to become more aligned with global goals on sustainability?
The Sustainable City proudly aligns with national green strategies and Dubai Plan 2021 for a sustainable future as well as with global initiatives, such as environmental aspirations of the Paris Agreement (2050), the United Nations Agenda for Sustainable Development (2030), the Dubai Clean Energy Strategy (2050), and UAE Vision (2021) to transform people’s way of life into a cleaner future that would substantially decrease the carbon footprint.
It’s a matter of mindset, the right knowledge tools, and the ability to recognise the inherent relationship that exists between environmental building design and its economic and social dimensions. Knowledge is important to surpass the norm and present a sample of the future rather than a copy of what already is.
Voted the happiest neighbourhood in Dubai several years running, what are some of the KPIs that clearly highlight its success?
We are proud to have been designated as the happiest neighbourhood as joy, and positive sentiments are the driving factors for any thriving community. A study that was conducted by the University of California in Davis stated that knowledge about and social interaction with one’s neighbours is often an indicator of identification with community and community cohesion. As part of a community-wide survey in The Sustainable City, it was determined that 46 percent of the interviewees know at least six neighbours and 10 percent of them know more than 20. This is a testament to the closely-knit community that constitutes the city and mark of achievement for us in being able to offer them the space and potential to create a happy life for themselves.
The Sustainable City attracts a wide demographic of people who come to the city to enjoy the open spaces areas and the diverse events that range from the Origin market to the horse jumping show. All these have resulted in high occupancy and an activated, dynamic community that is vocal of their happiness, consolidating their authentic sentiments of happiness.
One of the things developers often overlook is the tangible sense of community – how have your residents both tenants and owners contributed to TSC success?
Cities and communities grow and evolve in tandem with their residents, and this is a core pillar of Diamond Development’s approach to The Sustainable City. We may have been the ones who built it, but it’s the residents who helped shape it and make it the home and community it is today.
Many ideas have been submitted to enhance the city for all those living there and visitors, including an emphasis on sustainable cleaning, which sought to phase out chemical-based detergents; ‘Boomerang’ shopping bags, prepared by a group of sewing moms, and subsequently, the phasing out of single-use plastic bags; the establishment of an animal sanctuary and the application of animal welfare initiatives; and triathlon training for all ages among others.
The Sustainable City supports a culture of sustainability among its residents by involving them in urban farming, encouraging waste separation at the source, celebrating environmental occasions, such as World Environment Day, World Water Day, Earth Hour, and Earth Day.
Additionally, the city hosts eco-friendly events, such as the Yoga Festival and Origin, the sustainable market that showcases local and organic products, all of which result in an involved community that is happy and proud.
Green development CEO and founder of Diamond Developers Faris Saeed says The Sustainable City was always intended to be a working blueprint for low-carbon living