Abu Dhabi and sustainable landscape architecture in the Gulf

abu_dhabi_corniche_eastSince Gulf and Asian landscape architecture are improving, it may be a good time to dwell on past mistakes. The above  photo is of the east corniche in Abu Dhabi. It was designed in conjunction with major traffic routes and exemplifies what goes wrong when landscape architecture work is supervised by firms of engineering consultants. The east corniche ‘park’ lies beside a 12 lane carriageway and flyover. It is a horrible place to be, especially during the rushhour. Pedestrian access just about impossible.  Abu Dhabi is not short of money but this is a terrible way to waste water, space and resources. The ‘park’, better described as a ‘GARK‘, is ‘decorated’ with petunias, lawns and a fountain. Abu Dhabi is developing a grey water mains water supply but many lawns of this type are watered with drinking water. Grassland irrigation is calculated at 12 litres per square meter per day, which is 4,380 litres of water per square metre per year. Since there are about 58,000 sq m of grass, it must require about 250 million litres of water per year. In desert conditions, petunias probably require more water. Desalination plants dump their excess salt back into the Gulf. This will turn the mangroves yellow in perhaps 50 years.  Beyond the gark, to the right, you can see the tops of the mangrove swamps which border the Abu Dhabi Gulf coast. The mangroves grow practically without maintenance in seawater. They are an ecological treasure chest and very beautiful. One wonders if the ‘designer’ of the Corniche east park ever woke up and felt really stupid about what he or she had done. It is not too late to commission a landscape architecture firm to claim the gark for the mangroves.

One thought on “Abu Dhabi and sustainable landscape architecture in the Gulf

  1. Christine

    How would you describe a landscape ‘value’? How would you evaluate the ‘importance’ and ‘significance’ of that particular value? How would you describe whether it was a ‘good’, ‘indifferent’ or ‘poor’ example of that value?


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