Mohammad Bin Zaal, CEO of KOA thinks it’s the right time to curate new living communities in Dubai
Mohammad Bin Zaal, CEO of KOA, emphasise on curated communities
In such a diverse and rapidly developing region, the next generation of residents have new desires and specific visions for their living environments. Developers need to think out of the box and move forward to align with the diverse audiences.
Developments are often looked at as single units rather than creating a thriving community, we need to move with the times to distinguish, diversify, and curate new living communities in Dubai. The idea is simple, to look and listen to the market, it’s been a cookie cutter approach for far too long. The dominant model for real estate in Dubai has been an inside–out approach. Developers dictate what residential communities should look and feel like based on their economies of scale, their preconceived ideas. People
are often forced to compromise on their ideal living situation because there are simply no other options available to them. We have a very different approach, myself and the team look to the end consumers – what are their needs, their aspirations, the gaps in the market - and develop the brand, and our developments, on those findings. We build in direct response to consumer feedback rather than trying to use an outdated model that has no depth or consumer knowledge behind it.
Dubai is actively working to nurture entrepreneurs and young creative people – it would be foolish to ignore these new talents and new communities that are culminating within the region. Incubators of young, raw talent are popping up over the city and are driving new visions and a new mind-set to the forefront and this needs to be catered to with new living and working solutions. When we look at generation X in this market, this is a key target for us. Generation X in Dubai is well into their careers, ready to take the next step and settle in Dubai but they have not been catered to with the current real estate offering. This is a cohort of people who are well-travelled, highly individual and demanding – they don’t want to compromise on what is potentially their biggest investment. These are the people we want to resonate with. There are so many possibilities when you bring creative minds together in the right environment within Dubai. It’s key to curate places for creation, collaboration, education, and meaningful networking for both individuals and businesses.
There is a huge gap in this market to reflect the talent and vision of this city.
Design and environment
Our environment impacts our mind-set – the places you work and live can determine a person’s mood and ultimately the results we produce in our personal and work life. Another element of the evolution that is needed in property development in Dubai is the meticulous detail behind the design and aesthetic of a community. The idea of a truly boutique development, where the focus is on quality and craftsmanship over quantity, is something very new for real estate developments in the city, but again it’s something that is seen more often in other industries.
It’s encouraging to think a place that we develop can genuinely have an impact on a person’s day, enhancing human experiences through design. It’s our responsibility to curate living spaces where people thrive whilst keeping it's relevancy for years to come.
In other markets around the world, curated spaces have been developing and launching over the past few years. Cities such as Antwerp, New York, London, and more have seen great successes in this field. There is a huge gap in this market to reflect the talent and vision of this city. Not only can we see what has and hasn’t worked internationally, we have such a rich pool of varying cultures and nationalities that we can only excel in responding to this through our work in design and development. It’s been clear to me for a while that Dubai has to play catch up with what is happening internationally and to captivate newer audiences to give more individuality and substance. Playing it safe and sticking to what we know shouldn’t be an option in a vibrant city like ours. We need to ensure Dubai becomes a hub that is acknowledged as inline with and pushing forward global movements.
To truly curate a thriving community, not just a development, the approach has to be to listen and learn from the market and caters to their needs. This is how we at KOA grow but also how I believe this region will continue to grow.