In early May, 2016, a research team from the Center for Advanced Urbanism, visited Abu Dhabi to explore local neighborhoods and interact with stakeholders responsible for planning, design and allocation of Emirati housing in the city. The team, consisting of Research Associates David Birge and Sneha Mandhan, is part of a two year collaboration between MIT, led by Prof. Alan Berger, and Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, led by Prof. Khaled Alawadi, aiming to design sustainable neighborhood typologies for native housing in Abu Dhabi. The visit included involved meetings with various public agencies including the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council, the Al Ain Municipality, and the Dubai Municipality; various private corporations including Aldar Properties and Masdar City; and various academics working within the realm of urban planning and design, including faculty at the American University of Sharjah, the UAE University and the Masdar Institute. The team also toured Emirati neighborhoods in order to understand the various built typologies and the urban form of the existing neighborhoods at the plot and neighborhood levels.
The team hopes to continue the engagement with local stakeholders through a second visit in the end of Fall 2016 where they aim to present initial design ideas and sustainability modeling tools to gain feedback and input.