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Tue 3 Mar 2015 11:59 AM

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Dubai developers may be forced to factor in affordable housing for new projects

Municipality has put forward proposals that 15-20% of a project is aimed at low earners

Dubai developers may be forced to factor in affordable housing for new projects

Future property developments in Dubai may have to factor in affordable housing under new proposals put forward by the emirate’s planning officials.

Abdullah Rafia, assistant director-general of planning and engineering at Dubai Municipality, told 7Days newspaper that it has sent the proposal to Dubai’s Executive Council that would ensure that 15 to 20 percent of a developer’s project is aimed at low earners.

Rafia told the newspaper that the new scheme is aimed at families earning AED4,000 ($1,089) to AED12,000 per month, with 20 percent to 30 percent of the income to be the likely rent bracket.

He said lack of affordable housing projects means “people are living far from their workplace and need to commute everyday into Dubai.”

“The city is becoming more immobile every day. We have engineering solutions, such as building more tunnels, more bridges and more roads and widening the roads. But this is unsustainable,” he said.

Having studied various European models, where developers must provide affordable housing as part of any development, the Municipality has put forward the proposal that Dubai should introduce similar recommendations.

“We are starting with recommendations but there needs to be a policy. It will ask the developers to give a mix of developments as far as residential properties are concerned,” Rafia said.

The proposal does not say the affordable homes should be built on the same site, but that firms should have another plot in Dubai to build them.

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Mark Renton 5 years ago

Long-term Dubai residents will recall that there was a fair amount of affordable housing around up until the early 2000's when it was decided to demolish the various housing "colonies" that existed, in favour of luxury villas. At the time, I believe the plan was for the affected residents to move to other areas further out of town, and a number of commentators queried how these low-paid workers were expected to commute to their workplaces without spending most of their wages on transportation.

Even so, despite affordable housing being available, vast numbers of people back then still commuted every day from Sharjah; whether it is because of family, friends, schools, or just a bigger/cheaper property people will still commute. If more affordable housing comes on line in Dubai, rents in Sharjah will drop and people will stay there to save money.

The only way to ease congestion is to provide more frequent and more convenient public transport.