The idea and concept of a city that is not only sustainable but also happy is firmly entrenched in the decisions, minds and hearts of the UAE leadership. It is for this reason why one can even see a vital street in Dubai being named as Happiness Street. Already, the United Arab Emirates has started to emerge as a world leader in sustainability.
This is already evident in the targets that have recently been set by Dubai to be counted among the most sustainable cities of the world by 2020. Additionally, the emirate is currently preparing to host World Expo 2020, which will be the most sustainable expo of its kind.
Like any living person, a city can also have worries, dreams, ambitions and challenges. With the urbanization of cities, the cities must become smarter so as to handle the large-scale urbanization in a sustainable manner. This will allow it to meet the aspirations and requirements for a better quality of life, improved efficiency, reduced costs of living and decreased pollution. In short, the city will become capable of offering a happy community.
As per UNDP data, the Arab region is witnessing rapid urbanization, with around 57% living in urban areas. Currently, the region under the Gulf Cooperation Council is among the most urbanized of the world. Over 70% of the population lives in the urbanized areas.
In the modern cities of these regions, the authorities need to mix the traditional with the modern technological innovations. This allows sustainable development goals to be achieved.
While there are several initiatives across this region for building sustainable cities or for improving the sustainability of existing cities, the UAE has taken the lead in the establishment of cities of tomorrow which can provide opportunities for happiness not only for the residents but also the visitors. These cities will also be ensuring a balance between the social needs, economic needs and environmental goals. Sustainability is the future of urbanization and the United Arab Emirates is aiming to become the pioneer.