The Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC) has launched its revamped Public Realm Design Manual (PRDM) to ensure people have convenient access to community facilities, such as parks and waterfronts.
The PRDM – originally commissioned in 2011 to guide the development of a world-class public realm – is used by municipalities, agencies, designers, and developers, as a planning tool to ensure the creation of sufficient numbers of public spaces. It establishes a clear and consistent design, review and approval process, and provides a comprehensive guide with recommendations for its implementation.
The effective tool is also used by the UPC when assessing all new proposals and retrofitting in existing developments. The public realm comprises a variety of streets and open spaces that are open to residents and visitors. One of the PRDM’s objectives is to ensure there is a maximum distance of 350m to the nearest Public Open Space (POS). These elements can include parks, sports facilities, accessible waterfronts, and playgrounds.
Abdulla Al Sahi, executive director, planning and infrastructure, UPC, said: “There have been huge developments across the emirate since the first manual was introduced in 2011 and this was recently demonstrated by Abu Dhabi being rated in the Ipsos Top Cities Index as the second-best city in the world to live and work in. While that is something to be extremely proud of, this recognition has also strengthened our commitment towards continual enhancements and evolution to ensure we are leading the way in urban planning.
“This is only possible through properly understanding, devising, and implementing universal best practices in the field, which is the reason this latest version of the manual has been launched. The systematic use of PRDM-2.0 will ensure the facilities provided are inviting to residents and tourists alike, while reflecting the unique identity of our emirate.”
The new version has introduced and redefined a number of criteria, including the level of service provision, categories of public realm, hierarchies, typologies and design elements, as well as user identification. It defines the level of service to its population based on the type of settlement – urban, suburban, or rural – to help strengthen the environmentally friendly fabric of Abu Dhabi.
In alignment with UPC’s commitment to take a leading role in urban sustainability, PRDM-V2.0 will integrate the Estidama principles across the built environment. This includes the use of Pearl Community Rating System (PCRS) at the planning stage and the Public Realm Rating System (PRRS) at the design stage. The UPC will ensure the manual continues to be an essential planning tool that helps the emirate achieve its vision, with sustainable developments that balance economic, social and environmental factors.
The PRDM is updated regularly in collaboration with public and private stakeholders to ensure it also meets their needs and serves the goals of the Abu Dhabi Plan.