Social infrastructure projects should be given priority
Dubai South is now one of the fastest growth corridors in the emirate. Once completed, it is expected to house around one million people and with its close proximity to the Expo 2020 site, there is no doubt that it will change the cityscape.
But reinventing Dubai’s urban landscape should be based primarily on the happiness and wellbeing of people and this can be achieved by putting social infrastructure projects in the heart of the development plans. Speaking to Khaleej Times at the recent Cityscape Global, Craig Plumb, head of research, Mena — JLL (Jones Lang LaSalle), said developers of large planned communities in the region are recognising the need and incorporating social infrastructure projects, like schools and healthcare facilities, in their developments.
He noted that “while hospitals are extremely specialist real estate assets and are not likely to appeal to all real estate investors, clinics and other less specialist medical facilities can be successfully incorporated into more generic forms of real estate such as office buildings and retail malls.” Plumb sees the strong demand and government support for the healthcare and education sectors as big opportunities for real estate investors in social infrastructure projects.
In a recent report published by JLL titled ‘Healthy Returns’, the firm revealed that Dubai is likely to face a shortage of hospital beds in the next five years (see article below). Plumb said that the hospital shortages will be in Dubai South, Al Barsha, Marina, Dubailand, and Dubai Investment Park — all areas of fast growth. The hospitals to be constructed would address basically lifestyle diseases such as obesity and diabetes. Another prime investment for developers is in the educational sector. As the populations grows, the demand for more schools within or near residential areas also increases, Plumb noted.
And it goes without saying that more hospitals and schools are constructed, more and more residents will be attracted to more to these growth areas.
Reinventing Dubai’s urban landscape should be based primarily on the happiness and wellbeing of its people.