Infill developments are a growing trend within Dubai’s heavily populated urban areas, signalling the start of a new phase of maturity in the local real estate market, says Maher Sweid, managing partner of Dubai-based property developers Sweid & Sweid.
However, Sweid explains, infill development not only comes with great opportunities, but with an even bigger social responsibility.
Across the threshold
“In recent years, Dubai’s main population hubs have crossed a critical threshold with the urban landscape becoming a highly developed environment where few pockets of vacant land remain. While developers continue to expand and launch projects inland (away from the coast), there has also been a resurgence of activity within more developed areas, such as Dubai Marina, Jumeirah Lakes Towers (JLT) and Downtown,” says Sweid.
Infill development, defined as the process of developing vacant or under-used parcels within existing urban areas that are already largely developed, offer opportunities to developers and investors alike.
It allows them to capitalise on established sub-markets with existing demand bases, well established transportation and infrastructure networks, as well as surrounding amenities and employment hubs.
Onus on developers
“There is clearly an opportunity for this kind of development in Dubai, but the onus is on the developer to recognise the opportunities and to work responsibly to create something that not only complements the surrounding context – but that is seamlessly woven into the urban fabric,” Sweid notes.
“In many ways, it is easier to start with a blank slate than to add something to an existing framework. Developers need to consider various aspects of their surrounding neighbourhood, such as architecture, pedestrian passageways, traffic circulation, and view corridors – and not only the views from their own development, but others as well. Too often, we see projects built with an ‘island’ mentality where anything outside the boundaries of the plot is not really considered,” he adds.