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Dubai: The Higher Committee of the Al Quoz Creative Zone Development Project held a meeting, presided over by Sheikha Latifa bint Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Chairperson of Dubai Culture and Arts Authority (Dubai Culture) and Member of the Dubai Council, to review the project’s progress and achievements in its first year.

As part of the meeting, the committee also set its priorities for the next phase to enhance the emirate’s competitiveness and ensure the completion of the project, in line with the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, to establish Dubai as the global capital of the creative economy, a preferred destination for talent, and the world’s best city to live and work in.

New members

The project’s Higher Committee announced that it has been expanded to include three new members representing Dubai Police; Digital Dubai Authority and the Government of Dubai Media Office. The decision seeks to ensure the participation of a wider set of relevant government entities who will support the implementation of the project’s plan.

During the meeting, Sheikha Latifa highlighted the importance of the project in enhancing Dubai’s status as a leading destination for talent from all over the world. “We will continue to strengthen our efforts to enhance the emirate’s position as a global creative hub that develops innovative and inspiring creative projects. We have been studying various international best practices for the establishment of creative zones, and we aim to make the Al Quoz Creative Zone an exceptional model for a creative zone in line with our leadership’s vision.”

She expressed her appreciation for the efforts being undertaken to implement the initiative. “We appreciate the efforts of all our partners and their dedication to ensure this project is implemented using innovative methods in accordance with the highest standards.”

The meeting was attended by Mattar Al Tayer, Director-General, Chairman of the Board of Executive Directors of the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), Vice Chairman of the Committee; Lieutenant-General Abdullah Khalifa Al Marri, Commander-in-Chief of Dubai Police; Dawoud Al Hajri, Director General of Dubai Municipality; Helal Saeed Almarri, Director General of the Department of Economy and Tourism (DET), Director General of Dubai World Trade Centre Authority; Hala Badri, Director General of Dubai Culture; Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori, Director General of Digital Dubai; Mona Al Marri, Director General of the Government of Dubai Media Office (GDMO); and Hesham Abdullah Al Qassim, CEO of Wasl Asset Management Group (Wasl AMG).

Cultural destination

Mattar Al Tayer said: “What has been achieved in Al Quoz Creative Zone in the last year is a crucial step towards realising the vision of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to transform Dubai into a global capital for innovation and an attractive hub for talent from all over the world. This will help transform the zone into an artistic and cultural destination for tourists from the UAE and abroad. RTA will add creative and aesthetic touches to public transport and flexible mobility vehicles and infrastructure so that they will be in harmony with the beautiful design of the zone.”

Lieutenant General Abdullah Khalifa Al Marri praised the launch of the Dubai Creative Economy Strategy to transform Dubai into a global destination for creativity and the capital of the creative economy by 2025.

Lt. Gen. Al Marri also praised Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Crown Prince of Dubai and Chairman of The Executive Council of Dubai, for endorsing the Al Quoz Creative Zone Project, which aims to establish an integrated creative community that responds to the needs of local and international talent and creative business owners seeking to invest in various fields of the creative economy.

He commended Sheikha Latifa for strengthening the creative ecosystem in the emirate and enhancing its position as an international and regional hub for the creative economy. He further highlighted her exceptional efforts to realise Dubai’s vision of creating a vibrant and sustainable creative ecosystem for local and global talent.

Lt. Gen Al Marri highlighted Dubai Police’s keenness to support the Al Quoz Creative Zone Project through several initiatives that will contribute to enhancing the creative ecosystem in the emirate. He also reiterated Dubai Police’s readiness to provide a safe and secure environment for creators and creative business owners in the zone and ensure the highest security at its major art and cultural events.

Hala Badri said that since its launch, the project was being developed in accordance with a 100-day plan that was approved by the Higher Committee in its first meeting after its formation. “The initiative to develop the Al Quoz Creative Zone is part of the framework of achieving the objectives of the Dubai Creative Economy Strategy. The project has witnessed great interest from all partners since its launch, reflected in the various steps that have been taken so far. We are proud of everyone’s commitment and look forward to completing the next phases as planned.”

Al Quoz Creative Zone Dashboard

Badri stressed that to coordinate efforts, track all projects and take necessary decisions, an effective system was developed to monitor the project’s progress via the Al Quoz Creative Zone Dashboard, which is the first of its kind that includes inputs from several governmental and semi-governmental entities. Badri said the dashboard has enabled partners to get a comprehensive view of the project’s performance through a set of indicators on the progress of the implementation plan.

The dashboard was developed to provide data and insights on the project and follow up on its development. The zone’s performance is measured through several pillars that compare the achieved results with the targets. Indicators cover the infrastructure; management of the creative zone, the development projects of the creative zone; governance frameworks; activation of the creative zone; facilities, their diversity, events and opportunities; and the impact of the zone on creative community interaction and satisfaction and its economic and social impact within the emirate.

Urban analysis

Dawoud Al Hajri said Dubai Municipality has completed an urban analysis of Al Quoz Creative Zone and developed an economic study and comprehensive vision, including planning alternatives. “We have also identified the next steps, which include preparing the final masterplan, defining the developmental requirements, setting the executive plan and its stages, and proposing some quick solutions to attract artists and investors.

“Dubai Municipality is working in cooperation with relevant government and private entities to ensure that the final masterplan of the Project would take into consideration key matters including: renovation to benefit from existing facilities instead of undergoing complete redevelopment; integrating efforts with existing initiatives in the area and setting development programmes to ensure a comprehensive and integrated response that supports the current and future contributions of these sectors.”

Al Hajri added: “The master plan will also identify a spatial system and a clear vision that will contribute to meeting the needs of the Al Quoz community through a gradual approach, enabling current investors to engage in existing creative activities. The Al Quoz Industrial Area witnessed a remarkable development on a creative level when art galleries began to establish themselves there, with the area becoming one of Dubai’s most important cultural and artistic centres.”

Helal Saeed Al Marri said: “The progress made by Al Quoz Creative Zone within a year of its launch has exceeded expectations. The zone is inspired by the guidance and vision of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum to transform Dubai into the global capital of the creative economy and is supported by our valued stakeholders and partners who are keen to ensure the success of the Dubai Creative Economy Strategy.”

Helal Al Marri added: “Dubai’s Department of Economy and Tourism is committed to supporting Al Quoz Creative Zone to further grow the city’s cultural and creative offering by driving forward efforts to attract talent from all nationalities and communities. With Dubai returning to normality, a key focus will be on leveraging the strategic, legislative and regulatory enablers that are being constantly rolled out including multiple visa categories that create pathways for deeper engagement in Dubai. These initiatives give more flexibility and options for a new generation of creative talent, entrepreneurs and innovators to come and remain in the emirate while bringing Dubai closer to its goal of becoming the most sought-after destination to visit and the best city in the world to live and work in.”

Conducive environment for creative talent

Mona Al Marri expressed her gratitude to Sheikha Latifa for her leadership in implementing initiatives to develop Dubai’s cultural and creative sectors. She highlighted the media’s vital role in raising the profile of the Al Quoz Creative Zone Project in the country and across the world. The project is a vital element in Dubai’s creative economy strategy that seeks to transform the emirate into a destination of choice for creatives from around the globe and accelerate its growth as a cultural hub and the capital of the global creative economy by 2025, she said.

Mona Al Marri added: “Driven by the vision of HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai has continuously sought to achieve the highest excellence across all fields, including the creative sector. With the emirate creating one of the world’s most conducive environments for creative talent to thrive, the growth of the sector is set to enter a new phase. Al Quoz Creative Zone will serve as the nucleus of a vibrant creative ecosystem that can generate new value for the economy and transform Dubai’s cultural landscape.”

Hesham Abdullah Al Qassim, CEO of wasl Asset Management Group, said: “We are honoured to be working with all concerned partners to develop Al Quoz Creative Zone as we progress to the next phase following one year since the Project commenced. I would also like to welcome the new members, with whom we will work to support the leadership’s directives to consolidate this sector as a major contributor to the emirate’s GDP. With the help of all members, we will reach the desired results and support the next steps of this innovative project.”

Hamad Obaid Al Mansoori, Director General of Digital Dubai, said: “Supporting the Al Quoz Creative Zone Project is at the heart of Digital Dubai’s strategy to enable all sectors to produce knowledge – particularly, digital knowledge, given its potential to promote happiness among individuals in light of digital transformations transforming various aspects of our lives. This resonates with our support for the creative economy strategy launched by our leadership to promote Dubai on the world stage and cement its position as the global capital of the creative economy.”

Al Mansoori added: “The Al Quoz Creative Zone Project is a notable addition to the creative economy sector as it embodies the spirit of integration and cooperation between government entities and cultural and private institutions. Digital Dubai is delighted to be providing our support for this project, which relies on digital data and on-ground impact to drive continuous development.”

Supporting the plan

Within the framework of meeting the objectives of the project’s plan, Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum issued directives to exempt tenants rebuilding or renovating their properties to benefit the creative community in Al Quoz Creative Zone from rent for up to two years. Dubai Culture has also provided the opportunity for artisans, creatives and manufacturers in Al Quoz to apply for the long-term cultural visa approved by HH Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in 2019.

Project’s master plan

As part of the project’s master plan, the urban analysis of the area was completed and the economic study was drawn up. Additionally, the comprehensive vision for the area and the planning alternatives were also developed.

The next steps were also identified, which include preparing the final master plan; defining the development requirements; setting the executive plan and timeline; and proposing quick solutions, which would make the area attractive to artists, tenants and investors.

The project’s final master plan will take into account several carefully considered aspects, including: utilising existing facilities instead of redeveloping them; building on the existing elements of success; integrating efforts with existing initiatives in the region, and setting an economically feasible development programme.

The master plan will include designing the urban space to meet the development needs for activities, investment and individuals; studying the financial model for Al Quoz in light of the real estate market, and developing a detailed programme on the uses and floor areas. The plan will also include preparing the building development standards, the public space development plan, implementation programme, development priorities, spatial stages, and spatial indicators.

Street No.6

As part of the plan, there were studies conducted on the activation of Street No. 6 as an attractive destination and a pedestrian-friendly environment and the provision of meeting spaces that allow for a unique exploration experience.

By 2026, the master plan is expected to support Al Quoz Creative Zone with facilities that will house 6,800 creatives.

Infrastructure and flexible mobility

As for the infrastructure, a new bus service was formed linking Al Safa Metro Station to Al Quoz Creative Zone. Work on the external bus wrapping for busses on the route was also completed, with the service becoming operational in June. Furthermore, designs for the area’s street signages are now complete, including those at the area’s entrance.

The flexible mobility and transportation integration project aims to promote the integration of flexible mobility means and provide a stimulating and friendly environment for walking and cycling. The project will be implemented across two phases. In the short term, Al Safa Metro Station and Al Quoz Bus Station will be linked to Al Quoz Creative Zone through pedestrian and bicycle paths and individual means of transportation spanning 3.5km, providing three transportation centres, in addition to a pedestrian and bicycle bridge on Al Manara Street.

In the long term, the project will include the provision of pedestrian and bicycle paths and individual transportation spanning 13 km to connect all the area’s major destinations, in addition to the setting up of multi-use yards for all kinds of activities and events as well as the addition of new mobility centres, shading elements and landscaping.

Supporting the creative community

Within the portfolio of projects to support the creative community, the ‘Creatives’ Journey’ was launched as part of the ‘Invest in Dubai’ platform to allow creative and talented individuals to launch their businesses within minutes. Since the initiative’s launch in October, the platform has recorded an 82% increase in the number of creative licenses issued in Al Quoz, and a 76% increase across Dubai as a whole. The initiative has also contributed to shortening the number of steps needed for creatives to establish their work.

Other projects to support the creative community included a set of incentives and benefits, including supporting the change of land uses from industrial to creative purposes and facilitating tenants’ processes for obtaining approvals and licenses. Al Quoz Creative Zone has also been added to Dubai Land Department’s Rental Index, allowing customers to calculate the rent increase and the average rent in the real estate market by entering the area’s data.

Creatives’ offerings

Through various partnerships with the public and private sector, Dubai Culture has provided a number of services within the framework of the ‘Creatives’ Journey’, including the Zoho app to manage the operations of businesses by creatives. It has also partnered with the Commercial Bank of Dubai to provide smart banking solutions that meet the financing needs of creative entrepreneurs and help grow their businesses. In another partnership, Dubai Culture has worked with Letswork, an electronic platform that provides practical and affordable solutions for places to work within the emirate.

Through its cooperation with its partners, Dubai Culture seeks to meet a number of objectives that will contribute to enhancing the competitiveness of Al Quoz as an integrated hub for creative businesses, including reducing business costs, simplifying procedures, and enabling revenue by opening channels that would allow for increased profitability for creative businesses in the region.

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