Arada unveils Smart City plans for Aljada, UAE’s next-generation lifestyle destination

14 November 2018

• Developer to focus on five main areas: mobility, utilities, telecommunications, the ‘circular economy’ and waste management
• Innovations will include a Sustainability Lane, smart parking, smart solar lighting and more

Arada has announced plans to create one of the UAE’s smartest cities at Aljada, the progressive urban megaproject located in the heart of Sharjah. Among the innovations to be introduced at the 24 million square foot development are a Sustainability Lane for electric vehicles, smart parking, smart solar-powered lighting and ‘circular’ offices. The aim of these initiatives will be to provide residents, workers and visitors to the destination with technology that adds value, improves quality of life, saves money and also supports the environment.

In the early stages of the Aljada Smart City project, Arada’s development team will focus on five key areas: mobility, utilities, telecommunications, the ‘circular economy’, and waste management. All these areas will be supported by ultra-secure, high-end digital infrastructure that will be managed centrally within the community. Arada is currently in negotiations with several multinational companies with extensive experience in smart technology, and will be announcing new partnerships in the coming months.

In the mobility sphere, Aljada will contain a number of smart technology solutions, including: a Traffic Management System that allows for congestion-free movement around the city; a smart parking app that will allow residents and visitors to reserve spaces at key destinations within the city such as Aljada’s Central Hub; and public and private charging stations for electric cars.

In addition, Arada will also introduce a Sustainability Lane into the road network, which will be reserved for the use of Aljada’s internal public transport network of environmentally friendly buses. Use of these ‘hop-on hop-off’ buses will be free of charge for residents and visitors, allowing them to easily navigate their way through the city, and gain easy access to the two main retail boulevards, each 2.2 kilometres long. This network will be serviced by a series of smart bus stops, which will provide real-time information about the calendar of events happening in the city.

With regard to utilities, Arada will implement smart solar solutions across public spaces, and in particular in the Central Hub, the leisure and entertainment district in the heart of the project. The developer is aiming to ensure that the lighting requirements for this area of Aljada is entirely powered by renewable energy. In addition, smart LED street lighting throughout Aljada will provide significant cost savings in the long term, as well as reducing urban carbon emissions.

In the waste management space, Arada will implement hi-tech solutions that will enable municipal teams to track waste levels in individual bins and optimise routes for refuse collection vehicles, a measure that will reduce fleet fuel consumption and improve efficiency. In the telecommunications space, Aljada’s digital infrastructure will offer 5G, alongside free Wi-Fi hotspots in public spaces. Arada will also work to develop the ‘circular economy’ within the city, providing workers with the option to ‘smart lease’ office space, rooms or even workstations based on real-time occupancy data. In addition, a concierge app will provide every service that the city provides – from food delivery to dry cleaning - to each registered resident of Aljada, at no extra cost.

The smart city announcement complements Arada’s recent decision to launch Sharjah’s first smart homes via the implementation of Arada Smart Home technology in the megaproject’s Misk Apartments, which will make residents’ and visitors’ lives more efficient and convenient. The announcement is also fully in line with Arada’s promise to transform the future of Sharjah not only by creating exceptional communities but also by helping to build the local knowledge economy, as evidenced by the recent partnership with American University of Sharjah, which will see the latter’s students designing a pavilion in Aljada. The initiative is also in line with the Government of the UAE’s vision to become a forerunner in the provision of smart services.

HE Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi, Chairman of Arada, said: “We have always said that Aljada is a forward-thinking and progressive project, not just for Sharjah, but the whole of the UAE. That is reflected in our smart city plans, which will improve quality of life and reduce environmental impact. We also hope that by testing products in such a large-scale environment, we can contribute positively to the learning process that every city is undergoing around the world.”

The latest announcement at Sharjah’s largest mixed-use lifestyle destination follows a series of milestones, including the first infrastructure contract award, to BICC Contracting in September, and the first main construction contract award, which was handed to Modern Building Contracting Company LLC in July.

During Cityscape Global, which took place in September, Arada unveiled the final masterplan design of the Central Hub, a new leisure and entertainment destination for the UAE, which has been designed by Zaha Hadid Architects, as well selling homes with a total value of AED545 million during the three-day event.

Launched in September 2017 by His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah, Aljada has swiftly become Sharjah’s fastest-selling residential community. Delivered in phases starting in 2019, the entire project is expected to be completed by 2025.

The Aljada masterplan is carefully designed with walkability and wide green spaces in mind, allowing residents, workers and visitors the ability to live, work, play and be entertained within a fully integrated and sustainable community. Aljada has exceptional connectivity to surrounding areas, and is an all-encompassing district that comprises considerable retail, leisure and entertainment options, in addition to a wide range of residential and commercial offerings.