Dubai’s developers should go al-fresco
With the advent of winter, Dubai’s outdoor spaces are once again poised to go through their busiest time of the year – when it comes to hosting community events and activities. Urban Outdoor Cinema is returning to Dubai Marina on the 20th of October, with three films scheduled for screening every week, during their 2018 run. With waiting services, a tapas bar, onsite pizzas, soft drinks, beer and wine, patrons will be able to enjoy an unparalleled cinema experience on the beach, and the refreshing weather of Dubai’s winter evenings.
What this really highlights is how Dubai’s residents are embracing every opportunity to engage with green spaces and nature within the city, as well as how the expectations and experientials of leisure and entertainment have transformed for the Dubai population. The outdoor culture continues to diversify with an ever-widening array of exciting activities.
Urban development in Dubai has always included well-manicured and beautiful green spaces. Whether it is the Dubai Miracle Garden, Al Safa 2 Park, Al Barsha Pond Park, Palm Al Jumeirah Park or several other picturesque urban green spaces, the city has not allowed itself to be restricted by its tropical desert location. Recent years are witnessing a welcome renewed vigor in focusing on the development of outdoor spaces in the city, with an emphasis on ecological diversity, creation of recreational areas and general beautification. As a bustling urban metropolis that aspires to have the best living standards in the world, Dubai is well served by this priority. A modern lifestyle, with its relentless pace, professional pressures and numerous indoor distractions, can often isolate us from the rejuvenating outdoors. Dubai’s weather can also restrict opportunities to do so, for a proportion of the year. Nevertheless, a holistic, healthy and wellness oriented lifestyle cannot be achieved without access to well designed, aesthetically pleasing and activity oriented outdoor spaces.
The creation of green spaces and outdoor recreational areas is already becoming a sought after feature in residential and commercial built areas in Dubai with developers taking notice. The market and the end customer are sending an unambiguous message to the industry and the highly competitive real estate industry in the city is actively engaging the trend. Mind, body and spirit are enhanced by the ambience of the great outdoors. Not only does being in nature actively promote happiness and sanity, several fitness oriented activities – from cycling, rollerblading, yoga and pilates to functional training and calisthenics – are greatly more beneficial in the fresh air and calming influence of a green space. The rise in interest towards these activities, as well as in recreational activities such as outdoor cinema screenings, picnics and barbeques, looks set to drive a more outdoor oriented lifestyle in Dubai, not only during the winter, but even during the cooler mornings and evenings of some of the warmer months.
For many years a fitness-oriented lifestyle was confined to gyms. In recent years, even many running enthusiasts had taken to indulging in their passion on treadmills. There was bound to be a balancing reaction to this trend and the worldwide emphasis on functional training – particularly using outdoor gym equipment – has caught on in Dubai as well. Groups of cycling, running and an ever increasing number of parkour enthusiasts can be found on social media, using these forums to plan community activities that make the most of Dubai’s winter. The Dubai Marina outdoor gym; the Crossfit, TRX and calisthenics facilities at SkyDive Dubai; the Warehouse Beach in JBR are only some of the many new spots that are redefining fitness culture in Dubai. Night markets, outdoor cafes, children’s activities and parks especially geared towards dog owners – where their pets can socialize and interact with their other canine friends – are on the rise, indicating an exciting lifestyle shift for Dubai’s residents. The Dubai administration’s admirable vision for the city’s future is that of a sustainable and green modern metropolis that promotes a holistic wellness oriented lifestyle. It’s not inconsequential that the government has a Minister for Happiness!
In light of these emerging trends, it is only natural that an emphasis on outdoor spaces should concern Dubai’s developers as well. Apart from a socially conscious orientation, such a focus is also the most business savvy response to the priorities of customers. There are few markets that are as intrinsically tied to lifestyle aspirations, as the real estate business. A change in the worldview, lifestyle aspirations and expectations of customers immediately reflects as available opportunities for those in the business to differentiate themselves from their competition. The wonderful thing about green outdoor spaces is that they can be accommodated into any budget at all. While the facilities and space limitations might vary, outdoor spaces can be creatively included in properties of all kinds – from villas to apartments. They also present developers with the chance to address ecological concerns. For instance, greywater reuse in flower beds and created wetlands reduces infrastructure and maintenance costs, while creating ecosystems that enhance the lives of residents. All in all, developing outdoor spaces represents an opportunity for developers to enhance their value proposition, while enticing a significantly larger number of buyers and investors.