Residents complain of lack of parks in Dubai’s ‘concrete jungle’

Residents of Al Barsha 1 have complained about a lack of parks and playgrounds in their neighbourhood, claiming the area has become a 'concrete jungle'.

The lack of parks and shaded outdoor play areas is causing children to develop health problems, says a mother. Jaime Puebla / The National
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DUBAI // Residents of Al Barsha 1 claim that a lack of parks and playgrounds in their neighbourhood has turned the area into a “concrete jungle”.

Resident Adil Hussain said the lack of amenities made it hard to find places to take his two-year-old twins for walks.

“The nearest park is Barsha Pond Park and I cannot take my kids there without a car,” said the 32-year-old Pakistani marketing manager.

“The roads around the area are so crowded with traffic that I cannot take the risk of taking my children in a pram.

“Eventually they end up playing within the four walls of the apartment on their electronic gadgets, which is so wrong.”

Because the area consists primarily of apartment buildings and hotels, it is densely populated, meriting the need for more outdoor living space, according to Mr Hussein.

“If not parks, at least some landscaping will brighten up this part of the city,” he said.

Mr Hussain said he moved to Al Barsha 1 because of its central location and relatively low rents.

“Now I am realising the mistake that I made because my family is stuck in a concrete jungle where I cannot see any green space around,” he said.

Maria Effandi, who lives in a flat in the area, said her community was severely lacking in amenities compared with the surrounding neighbourhoods.

“We need smaller community parks, shaded outdoor play ­areas and green spaces,” said the Pakistani mother of three.

She said the lack of such amenities was causing children to develop health problems.

“Our children are becoming heavily dependent on electronic gadgets and devices,” she said.

“They don’t have any sporting or play facilities in apartment buildings, except for swimming. This lack of physical activity is the leading cause of increased obesity and diabetes among young children.”

Another resident, A A, a 29-year-old Egyptian accountant, said Dubai Municipality should convert the empty property plots in the area into small parks where people could stroll.

“I have a very hard work routine,” he said. “So when I reach my apartment, I don’t have the strength to drive the car again or walk for another 15 minutes to go to the park for a walk.

“The roads are so busy that we cannot walk over the footpath and, as a result, I feel sick.”

He said he had asked the authorities to create small community parks in the area instead of putting up another building.

Yazan Awwad, a landscape specialist at the municipality, said the vacant plots were private property, so the municipality could not use them as green spaces. He said the municipality had no plans to build more parks in the area in the near future.

“There are two gardens in Al Barsha 1. One is Al Barsha Lake Park [Al Buhaira Park] opposite Mall of the Emirates, and Al Barsha 1 Park, which is more than 30,000 square metres [in size].”

Mr Awaad said the municipality followed guidelines in deciding whether to build new parks. “These include the urban construction rate in the region, the completion of the infrastructure works, the number of existing parks in the area and many other factors,” he said.