Dubai needs affordable housing all across the city

Dubai: City planners needs to cater for the poorly paid so that Dubai can enjoy a healthy mixed community; opined an Emirati newspaper. Dubai’s master planners need to make sure that there is enough cheap housing for those with low incomes. There is a real danger that a combination of natural commercial development and fierce rental zoning rules, which exclude �bachelors’ from some areas, will make large areas of the city unaffordable for anyone with a low or modest income; stressed Gulf news in its editorial today.

This will have serious long-term consequences for developing a healthy mixed society in the city. It is important that the different categories of the wealthy, the middle income, and the poorly paid, are all able to live their lives in housing that they can afford, which also grants them access to work and leisure, it added.

Obviously, this is not an issue for the wealthy since they can find their own places and transport, and it is less of an issue for those with middle incomes, but even they suffered badly during the real estate boom, which forced prices up to unacceptable levels, said the paper.

“The real question is how to maintain reasonable housing for those with low incomes. It is fortunate that the financial crash halted the excesses of development, which would have led to the demolition of areas like Satwa”, Gulf News said.

Now, the Rashid Colony buildings in the heart of Karama are due to be demolished. They were built in 1978 as one of three colonies deliberately designed to offer affordable housing to Dubai’s growing population; noted the paper.

It may well be the right decision to knock them down as no one could argue that they should be preserved as architectural masterpieces.

“But what does need to be preserved is the sense of community which the buildings fostered, as well as the low rents which meant that people with modestly paid jobs can enjoy a proper lifestyle”, urged the paper.