Arada unveils Smart City plans for Aljada
by Kasun Illankoon
Arada has announced plans to create one of the UAE’s smartest cities at Aljada, the progressive urban megaproject located in the heart of Sharjah. Among the innovations to be introduced at the 24 million square foot development are a Sustainability Lane for electric vehicles, smart parking, smart solar-powered lighting and ‘circular’ offices. The aim of these initiatives will be to provide residents, workers and visitors to the destination with technology that adds value, improves quality of life, saves money and also supports the environment.
In the early stages of the Aljada Smart City project, Arada’s development team will focus on five key areas: mobility, utilities, telecommunications, the ‘circular economy’, and waste management. All these areas will be supported by ultra-secure, high-end digital infrastructure that will be managed centrally within the community.
In the mobility sphere, Aljada will contain a number of smart technology solutions, including: a Traffic Management System that allows for congestion-free movement around the city.
In addition, a ‘Sustainability Lane’ will be introduced to the road network, which will be reserved for the use of Aljada’s internal public transport network of environmentally friendly buses. Use of these ‘hop-on hop-off’ buses will be free of charge for residents and visitors, allowing them to easily navigate their way through the city, and gain easy access to the two main retail boulevards, each 2.2 kilometers long.
With regard to utilities, smart solar solutions will be used across public spaces, and in particular in the Central Hub, the leisure and entertainment district in the heart of the project. The developer is aiming to ensure that the lighting requirements for this area of Aljada is entirely powered by renewable energy. In addition, smart LED street lighting throughout Aljada will provide significant cost savings in the long term, as well as reducing urban carbon emissions.
In the waste management space, Arada will implement hi-tech solutions that will enable municipal teams to track waste levels in individual bins and optimise routes for refuse collection vehicles, a measure that will reduce fleet fuel consumption and improve efficiency.
In the telecommunications space, Aljada’s digital infrastructure will offer 5G, alongside free Wi-Fi hotspots in public spaces. Arada will also work to develop the ‘circular economy’ within the city, providing workers with the option to ‘smart lease’ office space, rooms or even workstations based on real-time occupancy data. In addition, a concierge app will provide every service that the city provides – from food delivery to dry cleaning – to each registered resident of Aljada, at no extra cost.
Arada is currently in negotiations with several multinational companies with extensive experience in smart technology and will be announcing new partnerships in the coming months.
The smart city announcement complements Arada’s recent decision to launch Sharjah’s first smart homes via the implementation of Arada Smart Home technology in the megaproject’s Misk Apartments.
During Cityscape Global, which took place in September, Arada unveiled the final masterplan design of the Central Hub, a new leisure and entertainment destination for the UAE, which has been designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, as well selling homes with a total value of AED545 million during the three-day event.
HE Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Chairman of Arada, said: “We have always said that Aljada is a forward-thinking and progressive project, not just for Sharjah, but the whole of the UAE. That is reflected in our smart city plans, which will improve quality of life and reduce environmental impact. We also hope that by testing products in such a large-scale environment, we can contribute positively to the learning process that every city is undergoing around the world.”