As our world becomes more and more time-conscious and everyone’s daily lives continue to be busy residents will start to look for places that encompass residential, commercial and retail space. In a place like Dubai, a city that never sleeps, encompassing all three of these things makes logical sense. Why choose to live in an apartment in the middle of nothing, when you could have the best shopping and dining options right on your doorstop?
For most cities around the world, mixed-use developments don’t exist, purely because commercial and residential spaces naturally sit side by side. For example, if you think about a busy street in the centre of Paris or Barcelona, it’s almost certain you will have residential units above shops or restaurants. This style of urban planning is crucial to help make Dubai seem more like your everyday city, rather than a place full of stand-alone towers. We have already seen it in places like JLT, Dubai Marina and Downtown Dubai, where apartment blocks, restaurants and commercial spaces all collide. However, in the villa compounds such as Al Furjan or The Springs, this hasn’t really happened. In those types of areas, getting to a grocery store or pharmacy all depends on you having a car and without it you are stranded at home.
The property boom ensured that Dubai was built quickly, as therefore the convenience behind it may have been overlooked. For example, it isn’t convenient that the Dubai Metro only runs in a line alongside Sheikh Zayed Road, but that was the only option as the city had already been built without it. As developers move more inland towards the desert to create new communities, they will have a blank canvas from which to design the perfect urban layout. In order to merge the residential with the commercial, they will need to plan for more town centres or amenities in order to still retain the ‘city life’ feel.
Real estate developers in the city are now realising that convenience plays a large part in what makes a property sell or not. It may seem like a good idea to create a selection of villas in the middle of the desert, but if it takes 30 minutes in the car to be able to buy some milk and bread, if restaurants won’t deliver out to the area, or it’s hard to get a taxi, people will be put off. Even those looking for a tranquil way of life in Dubai still need to admit that one of the best things about the city is how easy and convenient it is to live here.
So, as Dubai continues to grow the desire to live in mixed-use development will continue to surge as well. With real estate developers planning ahead to see exactly what each community needs and what kind of amenities would work well for their target clients, they will be able to create unique, mixed-use developments to be the envy of any other city in the world.