Towards A Localized Form-Based Code for Abu Dhabi Urban Neighborhoods
Form-Based Code (FBC) is a sustainable planning tool that helps realize sustainable urban form and sustainable communities from different perspectives, including mixing of land uses, diversifying housing types, achieving walkability and cycling as well as permitting community involvement in decision making and design processes. It is therefore considered as a comprehensive tool that regulates different planning scales from master plan to individual buildings. Locally, Abu Dhabi Emirate lacks a FBC that could help achieve its sustainability-orientated 2030 vision and thus promote its envisaged sustainable urban identity. This research aims at studying to what extent the present form-related standards and guidelines for developing Abu Dhabi new urban neighborhoods coincide with the common components and process of FBC as a universal practice. This was achieved through a comprehensive review of the local form-related standards and guidelines and then comparing them to FBC. It has been found that these form-related standards and guidelines in are fragmented and lack some essential components of FBC applications. On the other hand, and in terms of the process of developing form-related regulations in Abu Dhabi new urban neighborhoods FBC, it has been found that the community involvement is fairly limited. Based on these results, the research has proposed some additions and modifications for what might be claimed as a localized version of FBC for Abu Dhabi new urban neighborhoods. Consequently, interviews were conducted with different stakeholders involved in the urban planning process, including central and local authority representatives, planners and community members in order to identify the opportunities and obstacles that may face the adoption of the proposed and additions and modifications.
The conducted interviews evidently revealed that there is a need for some actions to overcome the obstacles and seize the opportunities in front of the implementation of the proposed localized FBC to be eventually able to respond to the local urban character and identity of Abu Dhabi neighborhoods.