Research Publications

Urban Development | Ras Al Khaimah | Community | United Arab Emirates | Al Qasimi Foundation

Urban Development Lab: A Participatory Urban Design for Ras Al Khaimah

ICOS Group
May 08, 2014

The urban and rural landscape of Ras Al Khaimah reflects the major investments in manufacturing and trade that have been made by its rulers since its entry into the United Arab Emirates Federation in 1972. The emirate has experienced year-after-year of growth and development, which continued even through the recent global economic downturn. 

The vision of His Highness Sheikh Saud bin Saqr Al Qasimi to diversify Ras Al Khaimah’s economy and encourage growth in a range of sectors will impact the future shape of the city of Ras Al Khaimah and its position within the emirate. Such growth highlights questions about the future shape of Ras Al Khaimah in relation to the Ruler’s vision of economic diversity. His Highness would like to reduce Ras Al Khaimah’s reliance on industry and encourage growth in a variety of sectors, including projects related to sea ports and the airport, the expansion of the Free Trade Zone, and an increase of investment in the tourism sector. As a result, planning is underway to define how these sectors can work in harmony to create a functional city, one that generates income, provides an agreeable home for its residents, and constitutes an attractive destination for tourists. 

The Urban Development Lab undertaken in this study is an innovative process that uses perception studies and live interactive sessions with residents to capture the “tacit knowledge” of the city’s residents with regard to their perceptions and aspirations for Ras Al Khaimah’s urban landscape. The findings of the perception studies and live sessions are combined with global research on best practices in urbanization to begin to develop a culturally-relevant participatory urban design process for this city.

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