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"Sharjah Sustainable City" is reshaping the present to sustain the future

Opinion February 25, 2021

Throughout history, humanity has been on a lifetime quest to display grandiosity and style starting with the first architectural stone ever laid. Civilizations raced to envision, design, and build extraordinary cities that left memorable footprints till today. They all had one main thing in common: the future! Today, we continue on this journey to develop modern communities and cities that will mark the beginning of a new era.

Natural disasters and climate change are problems ignited by human consumption and are affecting the world drastically. While knowing the limitation of resources at hand, we are faced with a responsibility to duly respond to these major issues. If these natural disasters continue to increase, there is a risk we will be overwhelmed by their results and won’t be able to successfully overcome them; thus, the way we live, specifically the way we obtain and consume energy, should change.

Not only should the energy consumption change, but also the amount of carbon dioxide pumped into the atmosphere from gas-powered vehicles and the dangerous, unhealthy environment it contributes in; in addition to the resources’ excessive consumption and the scarcity succeeding to the next generation. Add to that, the scarcity resulting from the soil contamination by the dumped wastes and garbage, the oceans contamination by the accumulation of chemicals and toxic substances, and the overfishing resulting in its depletion of food for the future. All of these are problems acquired from one generation to another and leaving behind more obstacles to face.

Our vision was to create a futuristic living concept that tackles the current problems we have, aiming to provide a better future while also preserving our vibrant tradition and heritage. Imagine a community that provides its residents with plenty of opportunities to enjoy a high quality of life. A world-class city that strives to preserve and improve its economy, the quality of its environment, and the health and well-being of its residents. Imagine a self-contained and sustainable project where every facility is connected to another and at a walking distance, where preserving the environment is put as a priority, and where people adopt a productive and healthy lifestyle. This might seem like a grand challenge, but has become a reality after a strategic partnership between Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) and Diamond Developers, a leading sustainable communities developer in the UAE has set to bring Sharjah Sustainable City to life.

At the heart of Sharjah near Al-Rahmaniya area, the first modern mixed-use project in the Emirate of Sharjah rises. Sharjah Sustainable City (SSC) delivers the highest standards of green economy and environmental sustainability. Designed perfectly and strategically to meet all three pillars of sustainability: economic, social, and environmental.

By the fusion of old and new, the future-ready city, Sharjah Sustainable City engulfs 1120 villas and 100 apartments each designed specially to provide comfort and feasibility to its residents. SSC blends traditional and innovative designs together: a traditional design that once integrated the right way in the futuristic concept of design, will carry many social and environmental benefits which can be enhanced using urban design and smart technology.

The question here is, what is traditional about SSC? Tradition starts by blending the villas with the environment while ensuring a bond with the wider surrounding community, which results in a human scale lenient towards social integration and community building. The villa designs are unique yet encompass a traditional feel: providing a desired level of privacy while maintaining a calm and bonded neighbourhood feeling. The Ghaf, and Date palms have been part of our tradition, and thus we made sure they are available everywhere in order to further provide this sense of authenticity.

On the other hand, what is modern and futuristic about SSC? First, this city is suitable yet affordable to all individuals and families looking for a home of the future where their investment will serve a lifetime. The villas are built with nature in mind by using the most efficient materials and facades and powered by solar panels placed innovatively on every rooftop. More novelty is embedded in the design by using smart mobility, such as, autonomous shuttles and EV charging stations.

تنسيق المساحات الطبيعية بإدخال عناصر مائية يحقّق بيئة طبيعية للترفيه والتسلية في مدينة الشارقة المستدامة

The smart design of this project will be serving the social life in many ways. To start with, the city is surrounded and shielded by three high gates that clearly display safety and security. Children can play on car-free roads and sikkas, while parents enjoy a free walk in the surrounding green areas. In addition to the peace of mind SSC provides, it will enable residents to adopt a healthy and active lifestyle with all the greenery around, and even landscaping their own private gardens. At SSC what you seek is only a few steps away due to its clever road designs where everything is connected together and at a walking distance.

Aside from its positive social outcome, SSC design also provides decisive environmental outcomes from multiple perspectives. First, the perfectly featured landscape encourages community farming and gardening by using the innovation of vertical farming that not only saves space and increases green areas across the project, but also provides beauty and creates a great habitat to the animals residing within the community. Villas and apartments are carefully surrounded by tall green trees that provide the shade needed, and are built using UV-reflective paint and double-glazed windows to avoid direct sunlight and minimize heat absorption which will decrease the load of air conditioners and chillers workload and reduce energy consumption.

Energy won’t be the only aspect solved by SSC’s nouvelle design. The villas will be equipped with low flow water fixtures which reduces water consumption and thus the production of carbon. The productive design of the units also allows all the landscape to be irrigated by the treated sewage water. Aiming to achieve a zero-waste of efficiency, SSC promoted mandatory practices of waste minimisation, sorting, and recycling. The organic waste will be divested to an onsite biogas plant which will treat it and produce electricity while other wastes will be recycled through our waste management partner. This alone shows how innovative SSC is.

Today, we are faced by many problems to which we are obliged to find solutions. In fact, architects who are the key towards the future have to use their design to resolve the problems we face not only today but tomorrow also. To imagine a future different from the present is to seek a better life and leave behind today’s aspects of living. However, SSC is changing the present to a better one in order to sustain the future, drawing the futuristic ideas based on what we enjoy best about our present. We should truly use all our available resources now to create and design more sustainable cities.

The scale at which we do something determines whether we are part of it or beyond it. Our cities should be organised to keep us at stake when it comes to the decision of shaping our lives. We have to look at cities as a whole in order to understand the full meaning of sustainable urban development. We want to be regarded as perfect beings, with creative minds, endless souls, and humane feelings. We also want to create a new sense of connection in our neighbourhood, with people across the world, and also to the future generations.