The United Nations Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat) and Dubai Real Estate Institute (DREI) announced today the two student that won from the university competition launched to universities in the GCC region, focused on generating new and innovative solutions for sustainable public space in collaboration with major universities in GCC .
The collaborative direction between the two organizations DERI and UN-Habitat is to continuously offer educational and leadership opportunities to both young professionals and experts updating them with housing policies and trends, in-line with international standards for the development of sustainable cities and communities through several proposed activities.
Activities include training courses, workshops, urban campaigns, urban research on city prosperity and affordable housing and urban competitions that promote positive change within cities and housing communities for better quality of life.
The “My City My Responsibility” competition launched in August to all fourth years’ university students in the GCC region, invited students majoring in civil engineering, architecture, and environmental design to apply their projects either individually or in a group.
The competition, under the “I am a city Changer” campaign aims to utilize student’s innovative talents to contribute to re-thinking public space for safe, connected, integrated, healthy and resilient future cities in at least six gulf cities.
Celebratory event kicked off in the main theatre of Dubai Real Estate Institute, the first Middle-East Real Estate Institute and the educational arm of the Dubai Land Department.
The public schemes that won were selected and awarded based on key selection criteria ‘in urban sustainability, such as inclusivity, safety and accessibility for women, children, elderly and individuals with special needs. The jury consisted of Urban planning and urban design experts including Mrs Nadine Bitar and Mr Shadi Hasbini.
During the selection process, the jury members decided to withhold the first prize as due the submissions did not push the envelope in terms of implementing sustainability pillars in the Gulf region that is resilient to harsh desert climate change.
Each winner received a monetary prize from DREI and certificates for their participation from UN-Habitat and students will be given the opportunity to intern at a top real estate firm with the possibility to implement their project design with concerned city authorities.
The student winners include one individual and one group project:
Second Place: The Individual project from student, Miss Asmaa Abdulla Al-Mulaih, from the University of Jeezan- Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, has won a prize worth $3,000 from DREI with a certificate of appreciation from UN-Habitat.
Third Place: Group Project from students, Abdulrahman AlAteeqi, Ahmad AlSaffar, Dalal AlNoumas, Rahaf AlDabbous, and Shahad Al Awadhi, and Danah AlOlaimi all from Kuwait University- Kuwait have won a prize worth $2,000 from DREI with a certificate of appreciation from UN-Habitat.
The jury reviewed the project winners based on six evaluation criteria::
1) ability to resolve environmental issues
2) ability to generate business of scale
3) for group effort
4) resolve issues related to people with special needs, women, elderly, and children
5ability to resolve social issues; inclusive and safe
6) innovation and creativity
The awards were distributed as part of DREI celebration of UAE Innovation week and recognizing the importance of innovation and research as key drivers of sustainability .Guests included Leaders from the Real Estate Sector. Student winners accompanied by their parents, the Deans and professors who taught students in sustainable courses relating to the competition.
Dr. Tarek El-Sheikh, the Regional Director of UN-Habitat said, we believe that all the participants of this competition has developed new experiences and learnt new ideas about transformative urban settlements that are inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable. Therefore, their learning process will not stop here, but rather, they will invest and built on it after their graduation and when they join the work field, we will witness their positive actions in their countries.
It is worth mentioning that there is a growing consensus about the need to work together to address the impact of climate change and achieve the sustainable development goals as stated in the GOP meeting in Paris last September.
As a result of this global demand of climate change, UN-Habitat plan of action in Kuwait is to promote the New Urban Agenda ratified by more than 192 countries representatives in HABITATIII, Quito, 2016 and achieve 2030 SDGs specifically Goal 11: sustainable cities and communities and Goal 17: Partnerships (PPP) as habitat believes creating partnership plays a crucial role in the overall development of societies.
Mr. Mahmoud Al- Burai, The Managing Director of Dubai Real Estate Institution, congratulated all the winners of the competition and encouraged those who did not win to participate in the future competitions organized by both DREI and UNHABITAT, adding “I congratulate the winners wishing them a successful career in which they can implement their knowledge of New Urban Trends.
He ended by saying, I am excited to see what the finalists have come up with to provide their ideas for a vibrant sustainable and living future in their region, encouraging us to do a public display in our future competition to show case the vision of Gulf state youths in what contribute to revitalize their areas and make them more sustainable.
I’m a City Changer Campaign
The MoU signed by UNHABITAT and DREI will support the “I’m a City Changer” campaign which is an advocacy and partnership platform under UN-Habitat to raise awareness about positive urban change in order to achieve green, productive, safe, healthy, inclusive, and well planned cities.
A campaign geared to create a place for urban innovators to share their inventions into their local areas to serve and foster communities in cities of the Gulf.