Tag: Dubai ecology

lagoon01aerMy first mega-project, The Lagoons masterplan covered 540 hectares of mixed use. The international design competition was won by Urbis Hong Kong Limited and I joined the company as Senior Landscape Architect and Project Manager.

Within a few months I had relocated to Dubai to set up the company’s Dubai branch office and was later joined by a growing professional team of designers and project managers.

Adjacent to the site lies the Ras Al Khor wildlife sanctuary; an artificially enhanced, semi-natural habitat; home to migratory flamingos and other Arabian wildlife.

I had the privilege of compiling flora and target fauna species lists, designing geophysical modelling for ecological function, recommending endemic plant species for conservation and writing a working paper with Mr. Sandy Duggie on the unique procurement strategy to be followed.

Our working papers and recommendations were accepted by the developer, Sama Dubai, the Dubai Municipality (Environmental Department), RAMSAR, WWT consultants and endorsed by a UNESCO scientist.

The project had progressed from concept design to tender, with quay walls constructed on the site creating artificial islands that were intended to be flooded with waters from the Dubai Creek… until the recession arrived, resulting in the project being placed on hold.

I sincerely hope that one day this project is fully implemented. The ecological improvements to the reserve’s buffer zone, and introduction of endemic plant species to the commercially available palette for the Gulf coast has potential to greatly enhance the ecological function of the area whilst preserving biodiversity.

The working papers I authored recommended artificial coral reef creation, the creation of Islamic art inspired salt sculptures which would utilise and neuralise the hyper saline impounded Gulf waters, and the creation of a living soil by harvesting and growing various fungi that form a symbiotic relationship with plants, reducing their stress and increasing water and nutrient absorption.

Working on mega-projects in areas adjacent to environmental reserves, it was necessary to undertake our own environmental research with published findings and recommendations to guide the developer and advise the local authorities.

I spearheaded such reports with the Managing Director of Urbis Hong Kong Ltd, and our work was approved by Dubai Municipality, RAMSAR and Sama Dubai.

I arranged to meet Dr. Benno Boer of UNESCO, and was equally proud and relieved to receive his endorcement of my species lists and native species procurement strategies for use on The Lagoons, the Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary Buffer Zone and the Creekfront.

My recommendations for marine ecological enhancement was to my knowledge, the first time a developer has considered such comprehensive enhancement as sea grass meadow establishment, bioremediation shellfish lines, mangrove establishment and coral reef creation. If this recession ever ends, it will be great to see the project resurect.

 

 

Ecological 03The Ras Al Khor Wildlife Sanctuary Buffer Zone surrounds the core zone sanctuary, and extends into The Lagoons project, Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

The proposed landscape treatment required special attention due to the Environmental Impact Assessment’s wise recommendations. I was fortunate to receive UNESCO scientist and other NGO backing for my proposed native species lists and plant procurement proposal (tissue culture, seed collection, vegetative propagation) procurement methods.

The design and brain storming exercise also included cultural references and numerous geo-physical modeling features for habitat enhancement and ecological functioning as well as the design and location of ‘target species fauna’ shelters and interpretation boards.