Investigating Sustainable Urban Regeneration in Dubai with Analytic Hierarchy Process

Researchers: Jihad Awad, Chuloh Jung

College of Architecture, Art and Design

Field of Specialization: Sustainable Urban Regeneration

Research Summary

Dubai has experienced rapid economic growth and remarkable urban transformation during the last two decades. In Dubai’s old urban areas, however, the infrastructure and buildings are deteriorating. Dubai's sustainable urban regeneration project called Deira Enrichment Project will infuse a fresh breath of life into older urban areas, through comprehensive urban regeneration across the economy, society, and culture.

This research investigates the planning for sustainable urban regeneration in Dubai and evaluates the relative importance granted to various aspects of infrastructure regeneration during the planning process. As a methodology, expert brainstorming is conducted with the Analytic Hierarchy Process (AHP) to determine the key aspects considered in the plan, referred to as planning elements. An expert survey is conducted, and the relative importance of each of the planning elements in the sustainable urban regeneration plan is analyzed.

Research Objective

A key objective of this study is to verify the satisfaction level of residents in the Deira Enrichment Project and its vicinity to suggest improvements in Dubai Municipality's policy for Sustainable Urban Regeneration. The core of the study is to examine the key focus areas of the sustainable urban regeneration plan via expert brainstorming from the objective expert group.

Research Impact

In order to identify the planning elements prior to the questionnaire, a brainstorming group composed of three experts was created.

After that, an expert survey was conducted and the importance of the planning elements was evaluated. The sustainable urban regeneration plan has 5 upper elements (Urban Environment Sector, Transportation sector, Social/Cultural Sector, Economic Sector, and Sustainability Sector) on which the regeneration plan is based. As for the lower elements, 5 planning elements were selected for each upper element.

As a result of the analysis, the Urban Environment Sector was analyzed to be the most important factor in the upper level. This means that for sustainable urban regeneration, improvement of current underdeveloped physical environment is top priority. However, the analysis results show that it is not only about transportation infrastructure, but more inclusive urban infrastructures such as urban landscape, open spaces, park and waterfront. The emphasis on these was found to be as high as on the physical improvement of infrastructures.

The results of this study show that the importance of the Economic Sector is as high as physical improvement of infrastructures. Moreover, experts in Dubai attach high importance to the Social/Cultural Sector and the restoration of historical and cultural resources is regarded as one of the key elements of sustainable urban regeneration. These aspects of urban regeneration found in this study should be accorded similar importance in future urban regeneration projects in Dubai.

This abstract was also published in Sustainable Cities and Society, Volume 76, January 2022