So­cial in­fra­struc­ture projects should be given pri­or­ity

Khaleej Times - - THE BIG STORY - an­gel@khalee­j­ An­gel Te­sorero

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.

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