A master plan to turn Al Quoz Creative Zone into one of the world’s largest creative hubs has been approved by the area’s higher committee, it was announced on Sunday.
The plans, which were developed by Dubai Municipality, were given the go-ahead by Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed, chairwoman of Dubai Culture & Arts Authority and Member of the Dubai Council.
A comprehensive blueprint was put forward to develop the community infrastructure, its public services and spaces over the next four years, creating a supportive ecosystem for creatives and entrepreneurs in the UAE.
Currently, the area is one of the most popular among artists, as it houses a plethora of community-minded spaces, including Alserkal Avenue, where art galleries, creative co-working spaces and home-grown restaurants converge.
“Launched as part of our leadership’s vision of transforming Dubai’s creative economy and raising its contribution to local GDP, the project creates a model for Dubai’s future creative zones,” said Sheikha Latifa.
“The development of the zone will further raise the emirate’s position as a regional and global destination for creatives. Apart from providing an exceptional infrastructure, we are also committed to put in place a policy framework that will enable the creative industry to thrive. The implementation of the master plan will yet again demonstrate the spirit of partnership that has driven Dubai’s remarkable development over the past few decades.”
Al Quoz Creative Zone will be among the largest communities of its kind in terms of coverage area and the scale of creative activity.
It aims to accommodate a wide range of creative activities and will encompass cost-effective living and working spaces for artists, professionals and entrepreneurs, ultimately providing housing for more than 8,000 people and attracting about 33,000 people a day.
When complete, the number of creatives who will base themselves in the zone is expected to increase from 900 to 20,000. The amount of creative spaces will be increased times eight, while recreational and support services will triple, and commercial outlets will be boosted by 30 per cent.
Priority will be given to pedestrian-friendly zones. Spaces will include those designed to host events and activities, while outdoor public areas will also have entertainment and attractions, as well as offer spots for rest, recreation and artistic displays.
Linking the hub
Preliminary plans have been drawn up for the technical infrastructure networks.
A guide is also being provided for its development so that it also preserves the industrial identity of Al Quoz, as well as uses existing warehouses and transforms them into spaces to accommodate creative activities and businesses.
Phase one of the plan includes integrating flexible mobility and public transportation, including linking Al Safa Metro Station and Al Quoz Bus Station to the zone, with pedestrian, bicycle and four-kilometre transport paths, three transportation centres and a bridge for cyclists and walkers above Al Manara Street.
Phase two moves on to the development of public spaces and site coordination, while phase three includes the placement of public art across the area.
No completion date has been announced.
Focus on creative industries
The cultural and creative industries are high on the UAE’s agenda, after it launched the UAE Culture Agenda 2031 in 2018, the first nationwide strategy to unify the efforts of the sector.
Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, which hit creative industries hard, the country launched the National Creative Relief Fund to mitigate its financial impact.
Noura Al Kaabi, Minister of Culture and Youth, last week reiterated the country’s focus on the creative industries at the Unesco World Conference on Cultural Policies and Sustainable Development — Mondiacult 2022 in Mexico.
“The UAE has recognised the growing power of the cultural and creative industries within the wider economy, as well as its vulnerability to unpredictable events,” she said. “The CCI contribute to 3.5 per cent of the UAE’s GDP and are projected to grow to 5 per cent by 2031. Within this context, we moved quickly to adapt our strategy and policy work in this area accordingly, both on a federal and local level.”