When Sustainable City was built in 2015, it was a truly unique, inspiring and forward-thinking move for Dubai. And its success was immediate.
Inside this happy community, located on the Al Qudra road, there are 500 villas and 89 apartments. Each is built to conserve energy as much as possible (think UV reflective paint to reduce the thermal heat gain inside the house) as well as promote community wellbeing by their design.
The people who live here are far from being tree huggers. In-fact, they are a varied mix of young professionals, city workers and families, united only by the feeling of pride at calling The Sustainable City their home. Grazia finds out why…
1. The grass is greener
The Sustainable City is brimming with trees, grass and flowers. Plus there’s a duck pond and animal sanctuary looking after rescue donkeys, goats and chickens. At times like these, it’s easy to forget you’re in the middle of the desert (well, apart from the scorching heat)...
2. Know the neighbours
Residents regularly head for morning or evening walks around the running track, and you get to know your neighbours as a result. Even the layout of the villas - the garden is positioned at the front of the house and the villas are grouped around courtyards as opposed to having walls around them - lends itself to a sense of community, as neighbours are always popping by to say hello.
3. Food for thought
The development has 11 bio dome greenhouses, an organic farm and individual garden farms for local food production. This means residents can eat local produce for a decent price. Each house is also gifted eight coupons per month to ‘spend’ in the bio domes on herbs and vegetables. Amazing.
4. Make a move
In addition to a jogging trail, The City boasts an equestrian centre, tennis court, football pitch, swimming pool, indoor and outdoor gym – so there really is no excuse to get out and get moving. Even better, the treadmills and cycling machines at the gym are one of a kind, as they produce enough power per hour to light a light bulb for 1,900 hours. Wow.
5. Community spirit
The City hosts a weekly farmers market, where residents and visitors can purchase fresh, organic and locally-grown produce. A children’s picnic is held every Thursday, as well as jewellery-making workshops, soap-making classes and rooftop yoga.
6. Self-sufficient space
The community has shops, a beauty salon, spa, supermarket, restaurants, a nursery and a school. Plus, The Sustainable City houses a florist, sustainable mosque (insulated to prevent thermal heat and fitted with LED lighting) a pharmacy, holistic health centre and art gallery. Keeping up?!
7. Power to the people
Residents don’t have to worry about high utility bills as each house produces between 25 and 30 kilowatts of power per hour, thanks to solar panels, thick insulated walls and glazed windows. We’re into it.
8. Hotel Indigo is a go
Dubai’s first sustainable hotel, expected to open over the next year or so, will run on solar power and feature 143 rooms plus a neighbourhood café and restaurant. It will also recycle all waste water produced. We don’t doubt that after a stay guests will be signing up to a permanent home.
9. Driving sustainability home
Apart from the roads along the perimeter of the community, and the car parking areas between the clusters, the whole development is car-free. Children can play safely on the street and if you want to visit the shops restaurants and don’t want to walk, residents can use the complimentary electric buggies. There are also charging stations for electric cars.
10. Practical population
There are 2,700 residents of 64 nationalities living in The Sustainable City, and while there are plans to expand the community, developers are keen to put residents’ feelings first, and refuse to overpopulate the space. Happy days – literally.
Photos: Supplied and Instagram @thesustainablecity