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The key to successful masterplanning in the Middle East

Al Merief bird

Bird's eye view of Al Merief

31 August 2015 - Aurecon’s masterplanning team in the Middle East consists of experienced transport and infrastructure engineers. Their engineering, management and specialist technical capabilities have played an integral role in a number of successful masterplanning projects in the region, including the recent North Yas, Al Merief and Al Reef 2 developments, as well as the Qatar Science and Technology Park.

The size and complexity of the projects are unique, with the largest project covering an area of 270 ha. Aurecon Associate, Tanya Potgieter, says that the key to a successful masterplan project in the region is ensuring close collaboration among all stakeholders as well as strong local and technical knowledge.

“Whether the engineering masterplanning scope encompasses a complex, multidisciplinary masterplan or a more straightforward plan, all relevant stakeholders need to be involved. A masterplan will fail if this element is missing,” asserts Potgieter.

Each stakeholder in the masterplanning process has a role to play. Typical stakeholders in this process include developers, local government and relevant authorities, engineers, transport system planners, infrastructure developers, urban planners and built environment professionals.

“The developer, for example, needs to consider a number of aspects before the project starts, such as market studies, possible sustainability accreditation, whether the development will be private or public, and so on. The developer, in turn, needs to be advised of the implications of maintenance and ownership after the project is completed. For example, will a precinct or plot be maintained by their organisation or divided and sold to individual owners?” says Potgieter.

The regulatory environment in the Middle East can be complex, so it is also crucial to engage local authorities when embarking on a masterplanning project. Having local consultants on the ground, who are familiar with the timelines, processes and regulatory procedures is essential.

Masterplanning needs to be bankable, feasible and it needs to add value to the lives of the people who will ultimately occupy this space. Engaging the services of an experienced masterplanning team that is committed to satisfying the needs of the client and other stakeholders is vital.

“Aurecon’s successful masterplanning projects in the Middle East are examples of what can be achieved when a masterplanning team is able to use a tried and tested collaboration process to create new, innovative spaces for the people in the region,” concludes Potgieter.

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