Sat. Dec 3rd, 2022

  • Sustainable design now an industry necessity says award-winning architect, Baharash Bagherian

Dubai, UAE: While climate change has dominated headlines recently and will be the focus of Dubai’s November 2023 hosting of COP 28, Cityscape Intelligence Talks – the powerful conference series of Cityscape, Dubai’s largest property finding event – will hear calls for more industry adoption of advanced technology and attention to climate resilience alongside sustainability and urban regeneration.

Taking to the stage at the Cityscape Intelligence Talks, which runs at the Dubai World Trade Centre from November 21-23, Bhami Muhamed Ilyas, Regional Business Director of the USA’s CCP Wind Engineering, will call for renewed climate resilience focus while helping delegates navigate wind effects on urban development and its architecture.

“As buildings grow taller, less conventional in form, and the urban environment densifies, wind effects become a more significant consideration in design,” says Ilyas. “Based on an understanding of wind patterns and comfort levels around developments, architectural and structural designers can refine and optimize architecture and structural systems to meet reliability goals while minimizing costs and maximizing user experience.”

Advanced technology is being promoted throughout the Cityscape Intelligence Talks agenda forecasting a wide range of aspects including site inspections and transparency delivery.

Panellist Bilal Moti, Managing Director of the UAE’s Windmills Valuation Services will participate on a panel probing how to improve real estate transparency through powerful data.

“The days of manual repetitive work have gone,” explained Moti. “It’s time to shed old manual practices and embrace process automation. Let us transform our manual processes and decision making to auto decision making – that is Artificial Intelligence. Examples where it could be utilised are credit lending, valuations, and equity performance analysis. Technology and Artificial Intelligence will facilitate accuracy, efficiency, confidentiality, and control.”

Shruti Jain, Sales Director of the UK’s data analytics provider REIDIN, asserts that powerful AI-enabled data is the answer to delivering sector transparency which, she says, is now critical to decarbonization.

“Transparency enables FDI, and there is a direct co-relation between the two,” she says while identifying Dubai as a potential regional leader. “Dubai is in a sweet spot. It’s strategically located, a tax-free haven where real estate is fairly priced as compared to other markets such as Hong Kong, Singapore, London, or New York. It offers attractive returns on investment, also coupled with government initiatives on the issue of green, investor and gold visas, it has enabled more investment in the region. It will continue to grow despite inflation due to these initiatives and its increasing transparency.”

Meanwhile, as nations across the world struggle against recession forecasts, Augostino Sfeir, Chief Investment & Strategy Officer of Abu Dhabi property developer IMKAN, asserts that real estate remains a viable investment option.

“Especially in times of recession, stocks are particularly unstable since they can easily be affected by economic crises and pandemics, while the effects on real estate, on the other hand, are minimal and will not be visible until much later,” says Sfeir while forecasting the UAE will maintain growth even in the face of global recessionary winds.

“Given the UAE’s economic, political and legislation stability, in addition to the government’s continued initiatives and increased spending on infrastructure, the country’s real estate market is expected to continue growing and will remain one of the most attractive and safe investment options,” he asserts.

However, Sfeir admits that the industry needs to work towards adopting sustainability practices as well as forecasts government intervention to push the issue forward.

“The biggest challenge today, is the gap in education from the developers, contractors, and consumers about the benefits of investing in sustainability in the long run. While the cost of development could be 7-10% higher than non-green development costs, which might affect the overall price-tag of the sold unit, the consumer will gain in return from energy savings, water savings, maintenance, and waste savings.  In addition to the quality of living, through the improvement of air quality which will reduce chronic disease and improve the health and wellbeing of people living in those communities,” he adds.

“New legislation is expected to be applied by the government to reach the Net-Zero target by 2050, and the developer’s challenge is to be pro-active through starting with the incorporation of sustainable solutions within their developments and looking for the most cost – effective solutions that will enable healthy living within the most reasonable development costs.”

Baharash Bagherian, CEO of the UAE’s award-winning architectural design studio URB says the industry will quickly wake up to the need for the highest of sustainability standards defining them as today’s, and tomorrow’s “necessity.”

“There will be a shift in how developers are selling, moving away from selling a real estate asset and more towards selling a lifestyle. As such, there will be a rise in master communities which offer various desirable amenities, including a range of community facilities and green spaces,” he says. “We also forecast more sustainable communities being planned globally as countries race towards net zero targets, whilst the know-how to develop such communities will become more universal. As such, developers and investors will also look to diversify their assets to include sustainable real estate.”

Mohamed Shawky, Co-Founder and CEO of Dubai’s GIS Drones, contends that drones will be the future of façade inspection and building and utilities cleaning.

“Traditional inspections require a ton of equipment, manpower and time to be completed and the results are still not that accurate. With drones, all of the disadvantages of traditional inspections can be negated, and better value provided. The same goes for the cleaning of high-rise buildings, solar panels, and wind turbines. Drone cleaning is replacing traditional methods, and we’ll soon see its implementation to the fullest,” said Shawky.

The line-up spans the entire real estate sector eco-system with presentations, case studies and panel discussions from local, regional, and international industry leaders.

“This is an essential knowledge forum for all players serious about staying at the cutting-edge of industry developments in an era when the sector is undergoing massive change brought on by technology advancement, increased regulation and geo-political investment shifts,” commented Cityscape Dubai Exhibition Director Alexander Heuff of event organiser Informa Markets.

The Cityscape Intelligence Talks is supported by Dubai Land Department, Networking Sponsors IMKAN and Staycae.ae, Knowledge Sponsor – Huspy, Proptech Sponsor – Land Sterling, and supporting partners REIDIN, Propertyfinder, and Houza.com.



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