March 16, 2018

Top ten landscaping projects in the UAE valued at over $5.8 billion


The total value of the top 10 landscaping projects in the UAE exceeds $5.8 billion, said the event organisers of the upcoming Urban Design & Landscaping Expo, the Middle East’s only dedicated trade fair for urban, green and open spaces.

With three new theme parks under development among the major landscaping projects, the UAE reinforces its position as an attractive destination for recreational tourism.

The world’s tallest building (the 828-metre Burj Khalifa), the world’s largest indoor theme park (the IMG Worlds of Adventure, as big as 28 football fields), and the world’s biggest shopping mall (the Dubai Mall, with over 1,200 shops), are just some of the landmarks that elevated Dubai to a leading tourist destination, with over 15 million visitors in 2017.

The list of ‘biggest’, ‘largest’ and ‘tallest’ in Dubai will soon have another crown jewel, as the Emirate plans to host the world’s largest theme park too by the end of 2020.

According to the “Major UAE Landscaping Projects 2018” BNC Report published by the Urban Design & Landscaping Expo, Dubai is currently developing the “World Legends Theme Park” with a $1 billion investment. Nine zones with various rides will be complemented by 9,700 sq m of food and beverage options and 9,500 sq m of retail space, all set within a temperature-controlled environment.

“The World Legends by IMG Group isn’t the only theme park currently under development in the United Arab Emirates,” said Josine Heijmans, portfolio event director of the Urban Design & Landscaping Expo.

“Reinforcing its position as a top-notch leisure destination, the country is currently expanding its recreation facilities, with enormous projects in the landscaping sector.”

Abu Dhabi is expected to inaugurate the new $1 billion worth Warner Brothers World on Yas Island in 2021. With 29 themed rides, interactive attractions, shows, dining and shopping outlets, the project will also feature six immersive lands, including Metropolis and Gotham City, Cartoon Junction, Bedrock, Dynamite Gulch and Warner Bros Plaza, a Warner Bros-themed hotel and a car park.

A third theme park making it to the list of top 10 landscaping projects in the UAE is Dubai’s Wonderland Park Development. With completion expected by 2019, the $490 million project includes the construction of amusement parks, apartments, shops, restaurants, and a cultural centre.

“The total value of the 10 major landscaping developments in the Gulf country exceeds $5.8 billion,” said Heijmans. “No wonder, the demand for products and solutions to build and maintain urban and green spaces, sports grounds and playgrounds is increasing sharply in the region.”

Providers of products, services, and solutions for the outdoor design and build industry from around the globe are expected to come together in droves in Dubai next November during the Urban Design & Landscaping Expo.

Co-located with The Big 5, Middle East’s largest construction event, the exhibition will provide a dedicated platform to meet the region’s booming urban design and landscaping needs.

The Urban Design & Landscaping Expo will also feature a high-level Urban Design & Landscaping Summit.

The event will run from November 26 to 29 at the Dubai World Trade Centre.


Arup is lead partner for the 15th annual Road User Charging Conference


Arup is the lead partner for the Road User Charging (RUC) Conferenceagain this year, taking place in Brussels, Belgium on 7 and 8 March 2018.

The conference provides an opportunity for leading practitioners from around the world to discuss the latest insights, review case studies, and debate current trends and future challenges that affect senior decision makers who have responsibility for intelligent transportation systems and road pricing.

Arup is heavily involved in developing the intelligent transport solutions(ITS) industry around the world. Our approach to holistic transport solutions covers a range of areas including RUC, tolling, intelligent mobility, procurement, due diligence, operations management, and policy and strategic planning. Our goal is to create environments where integrated and seamless journeys are available to all on a safer and more efficient transport network.

The results are in – Oxford street transformation plans receive widespread support

  • More than 22,000 responses received on plans to transform London’s most famous shopping street into one of the world’s finest public spaces
  • 64 per cent of responses to online consultation supported plans in some form, with comments from local residents, businesses and visitors now being reviewed and fully considered.

Plans to transform Oxford Street and the surrounding area into an unrivalled place to live, work and visit have received widespread support, it was confirmed today.

The plans, subject of a recent consultation by Westminster City Council and Transport for London, proposed a new traffic-free area between Orchard Street and Oxford Circus delivered by December 2018 to coincide with the launch of Elizabeth line services. The aspiration behind the proposed improvements was to see the creation of safe, accessible and inspiring public spaces for people of all ages to enjoy. These would rival those in other world cities such as Paris and New York, and include improved pedestrian crossings, wider pavements and provide additional taxi ranks on surrounding roads.

The residents, families and community around Oxford Street were at the centre of thinking for these improvements to address some of the very serious and pressing issues of poor road safety and air quality on and around Oxford Street.

All residents, those working in the area and visitors were invited to comment on the detailed plans on the section between Orchard Street and Oxford Circus, as well as the surrounding area, as part of an eight-week consultation which ran from 6 November 2017 – 3 January 2018.

Around a million people were directly contacted with emails, letters and leaflets. This followed an earlier initial consultation in Spring 2017, which saw 62 per cent of the 12,000 responses supporting the principles behind the transformation of Oxford Street.

More than 22,000 responses were received as part of this second consultation. Of those who responded to the online consultation directly, 64 per cent supported all or some of the plans to transform the area.

Thirty-three per cent of those who responded to the online consultation did not support the plans. TfL also received around 7,000 written responses as part of a Living Streets campaign supporting the scheme, and a further 632 written responses as part of a local campaign against the proposal.

TfL and Westminster City Council are now considering every one of the issues raised by the huge response to the consultation before Westminster Council takes any further decision on how to proceed. The issues raised include traffic and air quality on residential roads, provision of a safe cycle route through the wider area, management of the public space and ensuring that Oxford Street remains accessible for all.

Cllr Daniel Astaire, Cabinet Member for Planning and Public Realm, said: “We’re pleased that we have had such a significant response to this important consultation and we now need to take our time to look in detail at every issue raised before we take any final decision to make sure we get it right. We know that people are very passionate about this iconic part of London and that is why we are clear that it has to be the right scheme that works in the best interests of those who live, work and visit the area.”

Val Shawcross, Deputy Mayor for Transport, said: “I’m delighted that so many Londoners have got involved and given us their backing to transform Oxford Street and the surrounding area. Our plans will make Oxford Street one of the finest public spaces and shopping streets in the world, while investing in widespread improvements to make the area cleaner and safer.

“We will now look at all the consultation responses in detail to ensure that everyone’s views are taken on board. Whether you’re a resident, a business, or regularly shop in the area, we must ensure the final details of the plan truly provide benefits to the millions of people who use the area every year.”

Alex Williams, Director of City Planning at TfL, said: “The introduction of the Elizabeth line later this year will significantly increase the number of people walking along Oxford Street and this creates a once in a lifetime opportunity to transform the area into an unrivalled place to live, visit and work. The results of this consultation show that there is a strong desire to improve the West End and make Oxford Street more pedestrian focused. All points raised in the consultation are being considered and we continue to work with Westminster City Council ahead of a final decision on the scheme later this year.”

While a final decision is still to be made on the scheme, a range of work is already underway in the area surrounding Oxford Street to prepare for the launch of the Elizabeth line in December 2018. This new east-west rail line will bring as many as 40 per cent more visitors to Oxford Street, on top of the 500,000 that arrive each day and provides a once-in-a-generation opportunity to transform the area.

Public realm works around the new Elizabeth line Bond Street station on Davies Street will begin from next month. Improvements will include wider footways and a raised junction in front of the entrance to accommodate the expected increase in pedestrian flows, with the area decluttered and new cycle stands, ‘Legible London’ signage and lighting installed. Works to improve the area around Hanover Square will be carried out by Westminster City Council later this year to improve access to the new Elizabeth line station entrance.

Improvements are already being made along Wigmore Street following agreement with Westminster City Council late last year. These include improved pedestrian crossings and widened pavements to provide more space for local residents and visitors. These works are being closely aligned with the wider Baker Street two-way project to ensure that any disruption is kept to a minimum.

TfL, Westminster City Council and Camden Council are also working with local businesses, fleet operators and organisations across the West End to help reduce the impact of freight deliveries and service trips. The number of deliveries made on local roads can be significantly reduced through a range of measures, such as better coordinating deliveries or retiming / consolidating them alongside other businesses in the area. This will reduce pollution, congestion and noise throughout the wider area.

To view the full consultation report, please visit

£10m funding secured for new HS2 urban quater

urban quater

Plans to create an urban quarter around the HS2 Interchange station in Solihull have taken a major step forward today after almost £10 million in new funding was secured.

In addition, the principles of designing new infrastructure and transport connections at the site close to the NEC and Birmingham Airport were agreed, with a final deal to be signed later this month.

The Urban Growth Company (UGC) was established by Solihull Metropolitan Borough Council to maximise development and investment at the HS2 station site and neighbouring land, collectively known as The Hub.

It has been working jointly with the council to secure £9.8 million of devolution deal funding from the West Midlands Combined Authority to enable HS2 to design the changes.

UGC and Solihull Council have also reached the basis of an agreement with HS2 about how the design process will be managed and delivered to support the vision for the new station site over the next two years, laying the foundations for other development at the wider site.

The changes include a plaza and public transport interchange aimed at creating a sense of arrival at the new HS2 station, replacing surface car parking with multi-storey car parks to free up land, improved pedestrian links and additional capacity for utilities.

This will ensure HS2 Interchange is better connected to local transport services, including future Metro and Sprint routes, and also open up the wider site for development.

The Hub is home to a number of key stakeholders including the NEC, Birmingham Airport and Jaguar Land Rover as well as the 340-acre Arden Cross development site, which will host the HS2 interchange station alongside business and residential uses.

The funding deal is being announced at international property conference MIPIM in France today.

Councillor Ian Courts, deputy leader of Solihull Council, said: “This agreement means we really can make the most of HS2’s arrival and deliver up to 77,500 new jobs, 775,000 sq metres of commercial space, 4,000 new homes and generate £4.1 billion every year as a result.

“It also means that people across the region will be better connected than ever, thanks to the improvements to local transport links.”

UGC chairman Nick Brown added: “We’ve always said The Hub area has the potential to drive nationally significant economic growth but only if the vision for Interchange station site was sufficiently ambitious.

“That’s why we’ll continue to work hard with the combined authority and HS2 to make sure these new plans for the station site match that ambition and are future-proof.”

West Midlands Mayor Andy Street said: “HS2 offers the West Midlands an envious opportunity in terms of jobs, development and investment.

“It also offers the opportunity to really think about how we maximise the benefits for the wider borough of Solihull, helping to drive economic performance and growth in what is already the UK’s economic powerhouse.”


Azizi Developments opens doors for new contract tenders


Azizi Developments, one of the leading private developers in the UAE, has announced that it will start accepting the prequalification applications for AED 20 billion worth of contract tenders for its projects in Dubai in 2018. This is in addition to the developer’s existing pipeline of projects that are in various stages of development across the city.

Construction on the various projects is set to commence 60 days from now and will be delivered by 2020. This is the largest tender announcement from the developer till date and will contribute to its real estate portfolio over the next few years.

 Commenting on this announcement, Mirwais Azizi, Chairman of Azizi Group said: “This will be a tremendous year of growth and expansion for the company. The new tenders are our largest number released so far and will contribute to our already packed portfolio of projects which we aim to deliver on schedule by 2020.”

He added: “This announcement represents our commitment to developing the real estate landscape in Dubai even further, utilising the latest technology in building design and architecture to create entire communities that stimulate a multi-faceted lifestyle. Since last year, Azizi Developments has been working closely with its contractors and sub-contractors to push forward with development to deliver projects ahead of schedule. Our goal is to ensure that we meet the commitments we have made to our buyers and investors by delivering high-quality living.”

Azizi Development is currently working on developing more than 200 projects in 2018. Among the biggest projects are Azizi Riviera – the developer’s flagship development in Meydan One, followed by Azizi Victoria – the mega-community project in Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum City – District 7.

Among the other projects in the pipeline are Royal Bay by Azizi and Mina by Azizi on Palm Jumeirah, Azizi Aliyah Residences and Farhad Azizi in Dubai Healthcare City, and Azizi Farishta, Azizi Plaza, among others in Al Furjan.