Interview: Hamad Hareb Al Muhairi

In what ways has recent population growth affected the housing market, and what strategies can address increased demand?

HAMAD HAREB AL MUHAIRI: Abu Dhabi is committed to maintaining growth in all economic sectors, including government housing. Based on its role in developing and implementing housing programmes for UAE citizens, and setting related regulations and legislation, ADHA has adopted a flexible business strategy that considers the impact of population growth on social housing demand. Consequently, ADHA works on diversifying housing programmes in cooperation with strategic partners in the public and private sectors. The authority continuously updates policies for providing general housing benefits, to keep pace with population growth and meet the needs of all segments of society. Such activities contribute to Abu Dhabi City being ranked among the most stable and socially secure cities in the world.

Which initiatives have been most effective at increasing the supply in the affordable housing segment in line with national objectives?

AL MUHAIRI: The National Strategy for Wellbeing 2031 aims to make the UAE a world leader in quality of life. The strategy is based on three key levels: individuals, society and the government. In line with this, ADHA has launched initiatives and projects that contribute to increasing the supply of housing units, to keep pace with population growth and meet the increasing demand for housing utility services. Such efforts contribute to enhancing quality of life and the provision of social welfare. Since 2013 the authority has overseen the delivery of more than 38,000 residential plots, more than 11,000 houses and over 45,000 housing loans. It has also approved more than 3500 exemptions from repayment of housing loans. The total value of these housing benefits exceeds Dh131bn ($35.7bn).

In pursuit of enhancing social welfare and well-being, ADHA is working to provide 76,000 housing units and residential plots for citizens in various regions of the emirate between 2022 and 2027. This follows the Executive Council’s approval of a project budget of Dh85.4bn ($23.2bn) to develop integrated residential neighbourhoods that contribute to enhancing living standards. According to the portfolio of approved projects, ADHA will implement about 47 projects, including the construction of 22,635 housing units across 54 regions in the emirate, and the outfitting of 28,891 residential plots to benefit 51,000 citizens in Abu Dhabi City, Al Ain and Al Dhafra by 2027. In relation to quality of life development projects, the authority’s portfolio includes implementation of projects in 14 residential areas in Abu Dhabi City during the same period.

To what extent are sustainable design principles and environmentally friendly building practices integrated into the latest housing projects?

AL MUHAIRI: In alignment with Abu Dhabi’s vision, the use of sustainable design techniques and implementation of green building standards within new housing projects has been enhanced. This approach aims to foster sustainable residential communities while decreasing the extraction of raw materials. In turn, this helps to boost the circularity of construction materials, thereby reducing greenhouse gas emissions.

Each housing design complies with strict requirements to preserve the environment and adhere to the principles of a green economy. These initiatives place a strong emphasis on promoting social sustainability and building communities that value healthy, active lifestyles. This is realised through the provision of various community service facilities such as parks, footpaths and shops within residential areas – which encourage a healthy, green mode of mobility and promote a vibrant community life. The goal is to balance economic objectives with environmental and social considerations, enhancing the quality of life for residents and contributing towards a sustainable future.