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|17 November, 2018

Arada unveils smart city plans for Sharjah's $6.5bln Aljada project

Key innovations to be introduced at the megaproject are a sustainability lane for electric vehicles, smart parking, smart solar-powered lighting and ‘circular’ offices

Image used for illustrative purpose. Aljada masterplan night view at Sharjah.

Image used for illustrative purpose. Aljada masterplan night view at Sharjah.

Arada/Handout via Thomson Reuters Zawya

SHARJAH - UAE's newest developer Arada has announced plans to create one of the country's smartest cities at its 24-million-sq-ft development Aljada located in the heart of Sharjah .

Among the key innovations to be introduced at the Dh24-billion ($6.53 billion) progressive urban megaproject 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, it stated.

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, it stated.

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.

Arada Chairman Sheikh Sultan bin Ahmed Al Qasimi 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," he noted.

According to him, Arada was currently in negotiations with several multinational companies with extensive experience in smart technology, and would soon announce new partnerships in the coming months.

"In the mobility sphere, Aljada will boast 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 permit 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" he stated.

"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," explained Sheikh Sultan.

"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 km 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," he added.

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, said the Sharjah developer.

In the waste management space, Arada said it would implement hi-tech solutions to enable municipal teams to track waste levels in individual bins and optimise routes for refuse collection vehicles, a measure that would 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," said Sheikh Sultan.

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, he added.

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