It was a dusty morning in downtown Dubai at the offshore campus of MODUL University at JLT1, a plush office block where the Emirates Environmental Group, UAE ‘s premier Environmental Non Profit had organised an intellectually invigorating morning of ideas on the Sustainable Cities and Communities theme. The line up of speakers where the Who’s Who of Dubai’s Sustainability Community; Kenneth Wade of 5 Capitals, Saeed Al Abbar, of AESG, Huda Shaka of Arup and Pradip of Ettihad ESCO.
The morning kicked off with Mr. Saeed invoking a call to action towards a net carbon positive built environment. Next was Ms. Huda who spoke on sustainable cities in an arid environment, which was informative and thought provoking. Mr. Wade initiated a discussion on green urban spaces as community catalyst and a biodiversity magnet. These two conversations provoked a discussion on the very character of green space configuration in the Gulf, with community fabric and water stress being fundamental drivers in this narrative. The last presentation was on case studies on retro fitting and energy efficiency in Dubai. A flurry of very interesting numbers were articulated.
As the morning moved towards the panel discussion fuelled by questions from the Emirates Environmental Group Chairperson Madam Habiba Al Marashi, and the engaging audience- the questions which drove the discussion were on green spaces, slums and other frames. The realms of the sustainability conversation in a morning seminar format are broader and wider
The question of the social in the Sustainability is one strand which is often not treaded upon, but would be welcome in addressing sustainable futures for a dynamic global city such as Dubai.
Practitioners usually don’t share lessons frequently enough and opportunities such as these are few and far in between, and I applaud EEG to take such an initiative to help contemplate a more sustainable Dubai. And the crowd was very fun as well!