March 2013

Otak International’s Rudayna Abdo, AICP, MCIP, PQP, recently chaired and presented at the three-day Future Housing Summit in Abu Dhabi, UAE. The first day of the summit focused on the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the second day focused on financing and delivery methods, and the third day, chaired by Rudayna, focused on sustainability. Rudayna and Hicham Bou Habib from Solving Efeso delivered a presentation titled “Designing for the Desired Demographic: Dissecting Housing Needs in Abu Dhabi.” They examined demographics and housing typologies and discussed the supply/demand gap and affordability issues.

Rudayna’s summary of the conference is that there needs to be a better acceptance of higher density dwelling among the nationals of the GCC and that housing must be developed as part of city and community development and not as an isolated delivery system. She stressed that housing solutions need to be found for all representatives of the population, especially lower income expatriates, and of the importance of sustainability – economic, environmental, social and cultural – as a requirement rather than an option in development. Finally, it is important to have continued meetings to evaluate and discuss the many ongoing initiatives in the region and to learn from one another at events like the Future Housing Summit.

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