CEO Middle East - - LEAD­ER­SHIP -

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

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