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The Sustainable City-Dubai, UAE

Faris Saeed, Chief Executive Officer of Dubai-based Diamond Developers, initially visited UC Davis as a supporter of the Middle East/South Asia Studies program.  His host, Professor Suad Joseph understood that in addition to Mr. Saeed’s state of the art waste management business in Dubai, he was interested in sustainable community design and development.  So when he visited in 2010, she introduced Mr. Saeed to the developers of the largest planned zero-net energy community in the United States, the UC Davis West Village.  

Inspired, and after three years of preparations, planning and research, Mr. Saeed returned to UC Davis with architectural renderings of the Sustainable City, an eco-village in the outskirts of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.  Similar in size to the campus’s West Village, the Dubai Sustainable City is designed to provide housing for about 2,500 people on 120 acres while it aims to save 60 percent more energy and water than conventional structures in Dubai.

The Sustainable City will capture natural breezes, and will have solar panels on building and carport roofs, bio-swales to conserve water, frequent bus service and extensive pedestrian and bike paths, to minimize the use of cars. Like West Village, which includes a community college and is home to several of the university's energy research centers, the Sustainable City also plans to incorporate living and learning. In addition to apartments, single family homes and retail space, the Dubai Sustainable City plans include P-12 schools and a sustainability training center. They envision the community as a living laboratory where architectural students can learn about energy efficient design, agricultural students can use the city’s bio-domes — geodesic greenhouses — as agricultural research facilities and social scientists can study what influences sustainable choices. The Dubai Sustainable City will have horses for recreational riding and for manure to help fuel the Sustainable City’s biogas production plant. Other planned features include wind tunnels, community gardens and water recycling.  The first residents arrived in the summer of 2015.  Learn more about the city from this presentation.


Diamond Developers point out features in the model of the Sustainable City.  Pictured left to right are:  William Lacy, Vice Provost of Outreach and International Programs, UCD;  Emil Samarah, Chief Commercial Officer DD; Faris Saeed, CEO, DD; Chancellor Linda Katehi, UCD; and Professor Suad Joseph.

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