Safety and security highlighted in Abu Dhabi UPC Manual

ABU DHABI, 7th December, 2015 (WAM) — In a further step towards enhancing Abu Dhabi’s position as one the safest cities in the world, Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council, UPC, has announced the implementation of the Abu Dhabi Safety and Security Planning Manual, SSPM, across 137 developments in the Emirate.

UPC introduced the SSPM in 2013, in collaboration with Abu Dhabi Police and other stakeholders, to provide planning guidelines for master plans and developments in the emirate. It focuses on creating safe and secure environments using a range of practical planning and design methods to influence the physical environment from the Manual’s ‘Planning and Design Toolkits’, which, when combined with security technology and operations, delivers a holistic security strategy.

All development projects are classified either as ‘Low Priority’ projects or ‘High Priority’ projects, depending on the type of development, population size and the nature of the activities that will take place there. Of the 137 project reviews, 54 were classified Low Priority, where the focus was on enhancing overall security. 53 were termed High Priority, of which 24 have received security approval, with the remaining 29 likely to receive approval in the near future. Thirty projects have been required to meet the additional security requirements of the Crowded Places Protection Programme, as they are publicly accessible and densely populated. This ensures that popular privately owned public areas and tourist attractions have been planned with security in mind to create safe places for all visitors, while taking into account their privacy.

Included in these approved projects are three of the museums that feature in one of Abu Dhabi’s most prestigious development projects – the Saadiyat Island Cultural District. Through early security planning and consideration of the principles and guidance in the SSPM, the Louvre Abu Dhabi, Guggenheim Abu Dhabi and Zayed National Museum are exemplary in illustrating how to incorporate appropriate security precautions without compromising the original architectural vision for each museum. Through collaborative efforts between Tourism Development and Investment Company, TDIC, the UPC, the museum operators, and the respective project consultant teams, the museums demonstrate how planning solutions improve levels of safety and security in development projects.

These projects have benefited from the fact that the SSPM does not include specific standards, rather it specifies a process to be followed and a level of performance to be achieved. This performance-based regulatory model deliberately allows planning and design freedom to enable projects to create their own solutions that are most appropriate to their project context.

“When the SSPM was first introduced in 2013, it was a challenge for users to understand why it was necessary to create such a manual because Abu Dhabi is one of the safest cities in the world,” said Abdulla Al Sahi, Executive Director, Corporate Services Sector and Acting Executive Director – Planning and Infrastructure Sector, UPC.

“However, Abu Dhabi’s leadership identified that a proactive approach to safety and security is essential to enhancing resilience. Two years on, the UPC now has a growing number of best practice case studies that show how individual project teams have innovatively embedded security into their project designs. Security is discreet, effective and does not detract from the architecture or functioning of the sites.”