Day Three – Category E (Population over-750,000)
What the judges said: “The quality of the presentations was excellent. They had so much information that it was difficult for them to convey everything. The fact that they were from two different cultures and that Dubai and Riyadh are so different, made it very challenging to evaluate.”
Claudette Savaria, Head Judge
DALIAN, CHINA: POPN 6.133million
Transforming itself from a centre for heavy, chemical based introduced to a more service-based economy has presented certain challenges according to Dalian’s LivCom entry. Tearing down and moving industrial plants from the city’s foreshore had brought benefits to residents who were now able to gain access to coast areas, but moving the commercial areas had also had a business cost. Relocating its citizens so that they lived in specifically residential areas, separate to the industrial centres had brought an improved quality of life despite the temporary inconvenience of moving home, the team said.
As part of a Green New Deal for Dalian, the government had set a target for forest coverage for 50% of the city area within the next five years. Increasing use of renewable resources; solar, wind and nuclear, were also a feature. Use of the internet was highlighted as a key communication tool with the public with a mayor’s hotline and internet forums as well as a series of 100 consultative seminars being used to gain views on future plans.
RIYADH, SAUDI ARABIA: POPN 4.26million
A relatively modern city, when it was founded in1902, Riyadh had just 8,000 inhabitants. Today it is home to more than 4m people. Despite its harsh and arid climate the municipality’s goal is make the city a model for “humane” and green architecture. A combination of regulations, operational projects and development programmes are being used with the key objective of expanding open green areas to create public squares, gardens and parks as well as a network of pedestrian walkways.
Greening residential quarters and providing the city’s road network with trees, plants and lawns to enhance their appearance, enlarge the city’s green space and significantly reduce pollution. More than 1,764 roads have been tree-lined and there is now a total of 1,140km routes alongside highway intersections.
The municipality holds an annual “one million square metre cleaning campaign” to clean up open areas around the city. Motivated by competitions for prizes and awards, thousands of students join municipal workers for a day. Transport and equipment are provided alongwith financial and moral support from companies and charities and there is media coverage of the award ceremonies. In the past two years, a total of 28 million square metres were cleaned.
DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES: POPN 1.4million
Benefiting from its global position between Asia, Africa and Europe and the socio-cultural tolerance of its rulers and inhabitants, Dubai has enjoyed a decade of rapid growth. This complex city is currently home to people from 200 nationalities with just 17% of the population Dubai nationals.
Although Dubai’s economy after the 1960s was built on the back of the oil industry, today, revenues from oil and gas amount to less than 6% and the major revenue is generated from business and property development and trade. So successful has this process been that Dubai’s gross domestic product rose by 263% between 1990 and 2003. The dramatic scale of the development and climate issues – five months of the year, the searing heat significantly impacts on the economic life of the city putting pressure on indoor air conditioning and car use. To counter these effects, the Dubai team highlighted initiatives to preserve key heritage areas around the creek, souk and waterway areas, to identify conservation sites such as at Al Maha and also to green the city with a target per capita green space of 23.4 sq metres by the end of 2011. Two major sanctuaries of local and global importance; the Ras Al Khor (RAK) Wild Life Sanctuary and the Dubai Desert Conservation Reserve (DDCS) as well as efforts to protect the coral reef at Jebel Ali were highlighted. In the 1960s, a herd of Arabian Oryx (Al Maha) was exported to Arizona in the USA for protection. More than 35 years later, the Oryx was re-introduced and this, coupled with a programme to restore the sensitive balance of the desert eco-system with extensive planting of 6200 indigenous trees and shrubs, has resulted in the creation of the 22,928 ha DDCS – the area has been designated as protected by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and joins protected areas such as Yellowstone and the Great Barrier Reef in gaining UNEP/WCMC status.