View Full Version : Do you think that people will ever walk ?
December 2nd, 2004, 04:55 AM
......outdoors in dubai ?
This has forever been a topic ive been contemplating. So it might be beneficial if i adressed it here :)
Everyone knows about the climate in dubai, its pretty much unbearable for most of the year. The city therefore has become a vehicular city, you drive everywhere.
Now looking at cities like madrid for example. I was talking to a colleque of mine a few days back and it suprised me hearing that he would walk from his neighborhood, meet friends in the city plaza, piazza. there he would interact with other people and all together go to dinner or club or what not. You can pretty much walk everywhere, you can interact with other people, it brings a sense of livelihood to the place.
Also, as a result of the presense of people, all the nice shops would exit alongside the streets therefore you do not need to place a huge mall somewhere in the city which would in years time die out and be left deserted. New yorks fifth avenue, lexington, madison, all are great example that you really do not need a mall.
My point is, i compare dubai's notion of transportation and other cities and for most people it is a matter of comfort. They would not be comfortable walking in the sweltering heat. It is understandable. maybe they need to more open to the idea, or maybe they need to be encouraged. Another thing is that we werent given a choice, since the beginning, you had to drive everywhere in dubai because everything is more or less out of reach.
imma list down my ideas of how to imrpove the situation, please give me your feedback on the topic, do you think there will ever come a time where ud prefer to walk than drive in dubai ?
1. better urban planning. if communities were built around a town center , there would not be the need to drive to the city everytime you want something. They can be within 5 minute walk, even a bit more, but you properly plan the new areas of dubai like, mizhar, mirdif, warqa, barsha, and cluster the areas to have them independant to some level. you can design the lots in such a nice way so the houses/buildings create a PLACE with terminating vistas and distinct character and not just be endless boring urban sprawl.
2. wider sidewalks and street furniture. for the streets have to be pedestrain friendly before one would want to walk along it. a thing which pissed me off the other day, was that sheikh zayed road, which is the most important road in dubai. it is the backbone for new dubai. It is not pedestrain friendly as much. you cannot walk everywhere, and the traffic along the street is unsettling. In urbanism, it is un desirable to build around a heavy traffic highway. highways should be located outside of the city, not the heart of it .which is the case of sheikh zayed road.
3. urban and architectural code. having the buildings fit together in a nice setting has high benefits for creating comfortable spaces to be in. urban code can regulate height, balconies, porches etc. whereas the architectural code regulates the style and opening of windoes, number of floors, etc.
i cant think of anymore stuff, but, feel free to post ur thoughts :)
December 2nd, 2004, 09:45 AM
No, I don't think people would ever walk outdoors in Dubai.
Usually, "town centers", wouldn't have all the kinds of shops a person would need. Each neighbourhood has its own grocery store, mosque, laundry sometimes, and there could be something additional. There's a certain limit to the distance it would be from a house before anyone would consider walking.
My cousins live right behind the Spinneys Centre in Umm Suqeim, and it has a lot of useful shops in it, so they usually walk there. But I can't imagine each neighbourhood having a similar centre. My friend uses the al-Safa (Park'N'Shop) centre. I use Safestway, but wouldn't even dream of walking there, although it is possible to walk at night time, because I would have to pass through a dodgy neighbourhood and would probably be harrassed.
Going to cafes nearby, having a walk..etc, is something the residents of Jumeira and neighbouring areas, for example, would do in the small Jumeira centres or Mercato. It has to be indoors. The only people who would consider walking from home to the centre, would be kids. Any adult will take the car.
I've tried walking in Dubai, and I don't think it's practical, even if everything was close. You'd still have to walk for at least 20 minutes, or take buses (not everyone will be close to everything), and the heat is unbearable.
And actually, I think people would buy more when they go shopping if they are in a mall, rather than on a street. A mall is quieter and calmer, and sheltered, so you can leisurely walk through and go to more shops and rest at a cafe, or use their prayer room if needed, or drop the kids off at a supervised play area. On a street when it's too cold outside or too hot, people are in a rush to get it over with because they don't want to be outside anymore, and they get tired faster. It also makes shops unnecessarily crowded because some people walk in because they're desperate for some heating or air conditioning.
Some shopping areas in Deira are outdoors, and it's a real headache. Just becase some villas in Dubai are built Mediterranean-style and there's a beach, it doesn't mean we can force ourselves to live as though we have Mediterranean weather. And it's easy for cold cities to have these kinds of streets because people wear coats and it does the job usually, but when it's too hot, there's not much you can do, even if you strip. Walking makes you more warm.
December 2nd, 2004, 10:36 AM
You know i ate like Hell when i was in the Gold Coast for a month , but had to walk 200 kilometers a week just to get to a few places i had to go to , i lost 4 kilos when i was back in the UAE :)
Here in Abu Dhabi , i like the old corniche , so i walk 100 kilos in five days every week :)
December 2nd, 2004, 09:14 PM
for some reason i refuse to believe that the notion of walking in dubai is unreachable. maybe if the buildings were arranged in such a way that they pay respect to whatever prevalent breezes in the region, then that would help cool the weather. So would planting trees with large canopies on the sidewalks. If more effort goes into the idea of walking i believe that people will eventually be atleast more open to it. especially when the new rail track opens, people would start walking more, so in time, with proper endeavours, the notion of walking might not seem as absurd.
December 2nd, 2004, 09:47 PM
yea that is why we have new projects like those
December 2nd, 2004, 09:55 PM
like bulldozergirl i think people will never walk
as there are no pavements in the outer areas, just in deira and bur dubai (near creek), there's nothing you can do about it. or you just risk your life
in summer it's absolutely impossible to walk. it's not only the heat, it's also the sweat
imagine people going for a walk to a shopping mall. although it's just a 10 minutes walk you look like you just had a shower. you find a nice shirt in one of these stores and want to try it. what would you do??? :D
in winter it's agreeable to go for a walk, but as everything's so far away from each other you rarely have the opportunity and even in winter people wouldn't walk because of the distances
but to be honest: this is a problem you will face everywhere
people get lazy more and more and even in my TOWN (20.000 inhabs together with villages around). i live 2km away from the town center. in the rural areas of germany it is usually there is a town and smaller villages around it about 2km to 10km away. when you have to go shopping and buy food what else can you do but drive?
you can't expect a supermarket and stores for the everyday needs in every small village
so the situation is somehow the same ;)
December 2nd, 2004, 10:29 PM
When we were there in october it was too hot to walk for more than half a hour. The Sheikh Zayed Road is not good for walking, as you can cross the street only on two locations (Fairmont overpass and a tunnel near the Crowne Plaza). Still you see people jogging along the SZR.
December 3rd, 2004, 01:14 AM
I remember once driving in jumeirah, i was at a stop light, and across from me was a pharmacy with huge bold letters stuck on the glass windows. which said " first drive in pharmacy in the uae " or something like that. And its just so disgusting, are we that lazy a people ? Im not talking walk every single place, bas ya3ni atleast some of the places.
looking at the new projects in dubai, the palm islands seem to be more orientated toward pedestrians. Since there rnt much roads and im guessing u would be able to find everything you want in the palm.
the gardens have that quality as well. theres the gardens mall situated on top of the development. so i dont imagine anyone driving from their the gardens home to the mall.
December 3rd, 2004, 03:28 AM
Hey, maybe Burj Dubai can cast a shadow big enough for us to be able to have a hour's walk in the shade
December 3rd, 2004, 04:07 AM
Perhaps instead of all the increasingly-ludicrous reclamation projects, they should build an underground tunnel network featuring a subway and pedestrian avenues lined with restaurants and shops.
No, nobody will walk outside in Dubai, for basic physiological reasons irrelevant to urban planning. A 10-degree difference between 35 degrees (like in Texas) and 45 degrees is much more important than the same interval at lower temperatures. The latter is far above body temperature, which is difficult to bear for human bodies, and don't forget we are speaking of air temperatures, which is in the shade. Heat index can surely go over 50 or even 55. The hottest I myself have experienced was 42 (F108), and that made me dehydrated and dizzy within minutes.
How high can the daytime highs get over there?
December 3rd, 2004, 04:24 AM
M()R()N - :D
Jue - On average, the temperatures most of the year are in late 30's up to mid 40's C. During the coldest time in winter, it could drop to 17-20 minimum, but would stay in late 20's usually. In summer, most of the time it's mid to late 40's, but it does reach the 50 mark and sometimes surpasses it, but it's never reported in the official forecast because according to U.N. regulations, if the weather is 50 +, all people who work outdoors should be given the day off. So on the news, the max they report is 49.
Your suggestion of underground tunnels is interesting, and I did think about it once. But I don't think it would happen.
Prince_Ahmed - The pharmacy you're speaking of is in the place of Habitat, which was in the place of the old Abela supermarket. I think it's rather useful to have a 24 hr drive in pharmacy. Because if I'm sick and look terrible and can't even get dressed properly, I could hop into the car while still wearing my pyjamas and get the medication I'm looking for.
December 3rd, 2004, 06:37 AM
In Houston's city centre there is an underground network with commercial venues that opens only during business hours on workdays. It is a veritable savior for businessmen laden with suits desiring mobility during hot weather. A tunnel system in Dubai would need not be extensive, but one running down Sheikh Zayed should help, maybe with a couple northward extensions to Marina and Deira. If I lived there I'd like it. :) Nothing against automobiles, but a few years in the US has made me rather averse to a cars-only lifestyle.
December 3rd, 2004, 07:10 AM
what also comes into my mind is that in many projects like dubai media, internet city,... residential towers will be built
the concept is to offer homes to people working there, so they just have to walk or a 5-minute drive to work
the same about the jumeirah lake towers. it tries to attract people working in media city, which is very close.
i just ask myself, will the concept pay off. will really only media city workers live in these media city residential towers?
if yes, it would definitely be a good solution to offer luxurious apartments close to your work
December 3rd, 2004, 10:12 PM
When I first visted Dubai I was really reminded of America ... the way everything is spread out, you have to drive everywhere, etc.. Unlike America, however, taxis are seriously cheap by Western standards (around 15% of the cost to mine locally in the South of France).
I remember staying in a hotel in the MidWest of America and there was a shopping mall on the other side of a 4-lane road ... there was literally NO way for pedestrians to cross!
I imagine more and more developers in Dubai will start incorporating more interesting interiors to their mega shopping malls, etc.. For example in the building I'll be living in, the Marina Heights Tower, they will have a complete floor dedicated to gardens which sounds very desirable.
Perhaps Las Vegas will also be used as a model, with large air-conditioned walkways between buildings.
December 3rd, 2004, 11:17 PM
i think that by having an urban code, u can regulate that every building for example have a loggia which overlaps the sidewalk, it would be shaded, and cooled at the same time, you can have fans on the ceiling or what not. it would create a sort of interior space. ill attach some pics from DPZ, a firm in south florida that is famous for its new urbanism concepts.
December 3rd, 2004, 11:19 PM
GO HERE http://www.skyscrapercity.com/forumdisplay.php?forumid=263
December 3rd, 2004, 11:21 PM
example of trees used as shading
December 3rd, 2004, 11:24 PM
this is from an interesting project which was proposed on a hill in the city of mecca, its interesting to see how the street terminates with a nice element at the end. plus, the loggia overlaps the sidewalk which provides shade.
December 3rd, 2004, 11:30 PM
this might be a bit different from what were talking about, but also, if there was an architectural code for atleast the residences in dubai, it would help create a sense of place for the community. u can regulate the slopes of the roofs, height of windows, color etc.
few weeks back, i visited rosemary beach and other newurbanist communities, and the effect of proper planning are incredible. there is a sense of surrealism because everything seems to fit together and the streets turn out to be wonderful places to walk. architecture and urban planning are related so much, we cannot think of one without considering the other. this is what i could find of rosemary beach, u can see how the the buildings relate to one another
December 4th, 2004, 10:48 AM
i don tthin k so dubai is to abr based i dotn belvie that many if any peopel will walk at all.
December 4th, 2004, 11:18 AM
You should send those to the municipility suggestions system
December 4th, 2004, 11:37 AM
i would love to some of those
would be a huge cultre change for dubai
December 4th, 2004, 08:02 PM
PPl have just become lazy there.
Everyone has houseboys or maids to do all ur work at home.
To get certain groceries ppl just call up the grocery store downstairs and they deliver watever u want to ur appt, even if its 2 cans of coke
December 4th, 2004, 09:48 PM
M R N,
i agree with you on that point, that is why i mentioned the drive through pharmacy earlier. But another thing, it might be part of the dubai culture. People are well off and they can afford to just relax. plus, im thinking in arabic islamic culture, a woman walking to the neighborhood grocery isnt favorable. i dont think its " laziness " per say, but its a combination of alot of things like income and culture.its a crazy notion to have a maid in the states. most americans dont. but, i dunno, i guess its become accustomed for dubaian households.
December 4th, 2004, 09:53 PM
im thinking in arabic islamic culture, a woman walking to the neighborhood grocery isnt favorable.
Exactly. I might have done a bit of decent walking if it weren't for that. Including construction sites!
December 4th, 2004, 10:08 PM
but in ayam ilrasool for example, women would go out, to get groceries or what not. it wasnt frowned upon. there was this respect which was present, men would give women priority etc. but nowadays, sadly, it is not the case. people's mindsets have deteriorated. and its just sad.
December 5th, 2004, 03:07 AM
Around 32% of women over 40 in Saudi Arabia are diabetic, while 24 % of men are. It's ridiculously high for both, but the increased percentage for women says something about the local practices and exercise.
الله يهديهم - لوعوا كبودنا في البيت
December 5th, 2004, 06:35 AM
But thats y i luv the UAE , sniff sniff,
the Halal food, the easy life, the beaches, ahhh, no worries!!!
I went there this summer, all i did was eat, sleep and swim for 3 months
December 6th, 2004, 03:46 AM
I agree with Almillion regarding using Vegas as an example. The summers there are also pretty scorching hot. The solution was to connect the buildings with enclosed walkways. And most of those walkways had moving walkways. Not necessarily for laziness but to just make it quicker to get from one place to another.
I think there really needs to be an alternative to cars inside cities, if Dubai is having traffic problems right now, imaging what it will be like after all the buildings have been completed.
I believe people movers like the Segway http://www.segway.com will help pave the way for alternates to the car. Sure the machine is expensive right now but like any technology they'll become cheaper and have longer range and we'll see some more competition in the field of personal transports.