Dubai Street Atlas Walkable Cities of Tomorrow

The monograph focuses on studying the streets and public realms of Dubai using cutting-edge analytical tools in order to propose potential interventions to improve the quality of them, as we believe that future of our cities lies in the qualities of their public realms.
During the past three decades, Dubai has witnessed an unprecedented growth, turning the city to a global metropolis. While the city mainly invest on design and construction of avant-garde buildings and stunning landmarks, the quality of public realm is still lagging behind. We believe that rethinking the streets of Dubai is the key challenge for the future of city.

Street Atlas

Each point on this map has a different story to tell about the activities, colors, textures and people in the streets of Dubai. This list and the codes given to each street, allow you to browse through the specific data provided in the book.

05 308th Rd.

Al Satwa area, Street Section & Street Plan, Car oriented street

“Streets and their sidewalks, the main public places of a city, are its most vital organs. Think of a city and what comes to mind? Its streets.”

– Jane Jacobs

Planning Dubai

The city has witnessed an exceptionally fast-paced urban growth during the past three decades, hence becoming one of the most iconic cities in the world, well known for its skyscrapers, luxurious resorts and diverse attractions. What about its streets?

Time lapse – an unprecedented (steady) growth

Dubai’s urban fabric is extended rapidly over 400 times and this resulted in many urban planning challenges especially in terms of urban mobility. Currently moving around the city is facilitated through six-lane highways, flyover junctions, overhead transit rail and a new tramline although as the city  will be expanding even more through the coming years and is planning for EXPO 2020, with 25 million expected visitors, it is time to enhance and improve the quality of its urban fabric and public space.

Reading the City

Studying available information and predicting future possibilities are the two key elements defining the planning process. In order to study the current situation of Dubai urban fabric, the following five cutting-edge analytical tools are used:

  • Walk Score© for measuring the accessibility by foot to functions and services, in order to identify more lively neighborhoods where people have better chances of moving on foot
  • Pedestrian Level Of Service (PLOS) for evaluating safety and comfort levels across the entire city, providing effective indications on priority of interventions
  • Public Transport Accessibility Level (PTAL) for understanding the efficiency of connection with public transport network by taking into account the walking time to a public transport stop, the number and the frequency of services at that stop.
  • Space Syntax for measuring  the intuitiveness of the routes for pedestrians from origin to destination, in order to identify the streets and junctions with high pedestrian footfall
  • CUBE by Citilabs for pedestrian simulation and modelling for replicating the current pedestrian flow patterns enabling the planners with a more informed design decisions especially for crowd management of major events.

Understand the streets

There is no straightforward way to describe the complexity of Dubai’s streets. From the narrowest alley in Deira to the widest boulevard, the streets and roads are dissected into their key features and smallest components, finding analogies and differences.

In addition, streets and roads of Dubai are dissected into their key features and smallest components for finding analogies and differences. These features includes junction’s typologies and spacing, measuring and allocation of street spaces, shading, greenery, bike lanes and facilities, pedestrian crossings, bus shelters, tram and so on.

Retrofitting strategies

The study concludes by proposing a series of interventions to improve the quality of selected streets in Dubai chosen as reference. They are focused on specific goals from implementation of bus and bike lanes to improvements of pedestrian infrastructure. The proposed strategies can be applied on much larger set of urban roads and street in Dubai, providing diffused benefits across the entire city.

Strategy 01

Increase pedestrian safety and public realm quality by narrowing vehicular lanes

“Dubai Street Atlas” is a result of Systematica’s over a decade experiences in Dubai as well as studies done by its research unit “Transform Transport”. We hope the book is contributing to the documentation of current condition of Dubai streets and triggers interesting discussion on possible future changes and challenges.