Architects focus on benefits of slowdown

The slower development in Dubai could be beneficial as designers are encouraged to tackle public space and sustainability.

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A slower rate of development in Dubai could benefit the city and its residents by forcing designers, planners and architects to address neglected urban elements such as public space and sustainability, according to speakers scheduled at an architectural event to be held today. "One of the problems in this part of the world is how quickly it's been developing without much thinking about how best to use the landscape," said Steven Velegrinis, a senior landscape architect at the Dubai-based firm GCLA. "This is an opportunity to slow down the development and use the landscape properly."

Mr Velegrinis will speak at a gathering titled "Crisis? What Crisis?" at the Courtyard Gallery in Dubai. Organised by the Architectural Association of the UAE, presentations and panel discussions will focus on the economic downturn, its effect on architecture and urban planning, and new opportunities for the city. George Katodytis, a professor of architecture at the American University of Sharjah, said it was important to connect different members of Dubai's design community to debate the nature of the downturn and the best response.

"The image of the city has been damaged, but Dubai is still a place of opportunity," he said. "Projects are still going on. This is still a destination."