Sharjah’s first self-sustaining city looks to engage residents more

A sustainable city is an urban community designed to strike a balance between social and economic activities and their impact on the environment. Sharjah Sustainable City, the first net-zero energy mixed-use development in Sharjah, wants to reinforce the social aspect of living in such communities. “Residents can learn how to grow food in open and climate-controlled spaces,” said Marwan Bin Jassim Al Sarkal, executive chairman of the Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq), noting that such community engagement with residents is a strong feature of Sharjah Sustainable City.

Being the first of its kind in the emirate, the project will more importantly serve as a blueprint for other sustainability initiatives, including some of Sharjah’s major infrastructure projects. “Sharjah Sustainable City’s cycling track, electric vehicle charging stations and autonomous vehicles will be at the core of mobility within the community, adding to the existing green transportation systems in the emirate,” said Al Sarkal.

Diamonds Developers is developing the project, taking with it the learnings and expertise from its work on The Sustainable City, the groundbreaking green community development in Dubai. Work is progressing steadily, Al Sarkal said, with the mock-up villas and the community farm ready for visitors early next year.

Al Sarkal talks more about the project in an interview with Property Weekly.

What’s the latest update on the project?

We are currently on the preparation stage to start the construction of four blocks that contain 16 mock-up villas, three of them will be fully furnished showing different types in terms of layout and number of rooms. Other features that will be demonstrated are the fully functional biodome — a well-designed landscape feature that shows the relation and proximity between residential villas and the urban farm. The farm, which will be completed by the first quarter of 2020, will host different public activities all year long to engage and educate about sustainability.

The first phase will be ready by 2021. What can we expect?

The first phase is planned to include major services and facilities such as K-12 green curriculum-focused school, community mall with a vibrant mixed-use plaza filled with restaurants, cafes, retail and health clinics, Sustainability Experience Centre, which will create awareness of environmental issues and a blueprint for future cities, an expansive urban farm, featuring solar-powered biodomes growing more than 35 types of vegetables and herbs, and jogging and cycling tracks. By the end of 2021, 280 Villas are expected to be handed over.

There will be over 1,000 villas with prices from Dh1.2 million. Will there be houses with smaller ticket prices?

This was considered as a future plan, but after looking at the market demand, we acted immediately to add a few blocks of residential apartments that will be offered for lease.

What’s the response so far?

The public is excited about Sharjah Sustainable City, a first of its kind that offers several amenities, including a shopping centre, a venue to host social events, health clubs, swimming pools, cycling and jogging tracks, restaurants, nurseries, medical clinics and a mosque. As public awareness increased we also see an increase in our sales and inquires. This mixed-use project that caters for all types of families offers world-class comfort, privacy and style. On that note, we invite everyone to visit our project’s sales office, which is located in Al Majaz Waterfront, where potential buyers can explore the villas’ architectural designs that are being developed as three-, four- and five-bedroom units on 2,035-3,630 sq ft plots.

Any standout feature or groundbreaking technology that will distinguish it from other similar developments?

This unique project is the first fully integrated net-zero energy community in Sharjah, with 100 per cent solar-powered recycling, 100 per cent of water and waste cultivating its fruits, vegetables and herbs on-site. Residents can also learn how to grow food in open and climate-controlled spaces, sourcing and supplying clean energy, clean mobility, circular economy features or the waterworks. They can also save up to 100 per cent on electricity and up to 50 per cent on water bills. The community will have its own autonomous electric shuttle service and electric car charging stations.

Will this serve as a template for the deployment of similar transport systems?

Yes, we always include green transportation systems across Shurooq’s destinations. For example, Al Qasba and Al Majaz Waterfront already have electronic charging stations that are accessible for public use. Sharjah Sustainable City’s cycling track, electric vehicle charging stations and autonomous vehicles will be at the core of mobility within the community, adding to the existing green transportation systems in the emirate.

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