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Dubai Land Department Launches the ’Urban Thinkers Campus’
(2 October 2017)

 

Dubai Land Department (DLD), through its educational arm the Dubai Real Estate Institute (DREI), has launched its ‘Urban Thinkers Campus’, which will run from Monday 2nd to Wednesday 4th October 2017 as the world’s biggest brainstorming session focused on the future of cities.

H.E. Sultan Butti bin Mejren, Director General of DLD, opened the forum with a welcoming speech that was followed by addresses from Farook Mahmoud, World President of FIABCI; Frode Mauring, UN Resident Coordinator and UNDP Resident Representative to the UAE; and Osman Sultan, CEO of Du.

H.E. Sultan Butti bin Mejren commented: “Over the past decade, we have witnessed a dramatic increase in the spread of digital technologies and services, which has radically changed our activities across all sectors including education, health care, society, the economy and of course real estate. The revolution has produced huge amounts of data and introduced new terms such as the ‘Internet of things’, which have strongly penetrated Information and Communications Technology (ICT). This will certainly have a profound impact on cultural development and the way we live in smart and sustainable cities. We hope that the ‘Urban Thinkers Campus’, hosted by the UAE for the second time, will help all stakeholders to generate creative solutions for helping developers to plan cities that will enhance the comfort and happiness of their residents. "

The first day of the forum coincided with World Population Day celebrations, which took place in the presence of Frode Mauring; Dr. Tarek El-Sheikh, UN-Habitat Representative; Christine Auclair from UN-Habitat and World Urban Campaign (WUC); Rose Molokoane, WUC Chair & SDI Representative; and Mahmoud El Burai, CEO of DREI and the Head of the Organizing Committee of the ‘Urban Thinkers Campus’.

Four sessions were held later in the day to discuss the future of sustainable development goals (SDGs) and address a number of other important topics including real estate investment innovation, entrepreneurship, and SDGs innovation through methods such as real estate crowd-funding opportunities. The urban thinkers also considered wellness and happiness as top priority human needs, and how to create unique living experiences by designing smart and sustainable communities and solutions. The sessions also discussed real estate policies and regulations, as well as new urban planning models.

One of the highlights of the day was a two-hour ‘Urban Journalism’ workshop, which ran from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. in parallel with the ‘Urban Thinkers’ discussion sessions. The workshop was hosted by the Urban Journalism Academy, which is a pioneering and innovative UN initiative that aims to strengthen the role of journalists and media professionals in shaping future cities. To this end, the workshop shed light on the overall process of urbanization by sharing substantive knowledge about city planning and management issues, as well as by providing technical expertise for gathering and examining urban data and indicators.

The Urban Journalism Academy also aims to highlight outstanding communication for development in urban contexts; share a selection of interesting examples of sustainable urban transformation projects; and make urban development issues and challenges clear and accessible to the general public, beyond professionals, researchers and public authorities, to bring the urban debate closer to real citizens and residents. 

Mahmoud El Burai added that the forum hosted the ‘Urban Thinkers Youth Campus’, which invited students from several schools to take part and share their opinions about the future cities they wish to live in. The UAE's 100 real estate ambassadors also participated to promote a culture of sustainability and ongoing development among the future generation.
On the sidelines of the forum, DREI launched regional and global sustainability initiatives including its ‘Smart Platform for Sustainability’; ‘Sustainable Property Markets Project’; ‘Urban Sustainability Award’ in collaboration with UN-Habitat in the Gulf for the private sector; and the ‘Health Cities Index’ project in partnership with the British Chartered Institute of Building. DREI also announced that it will be represented on the Board of Directors for the WUC academy in cooperation with the United Nations and other international organisations.

During the three-day event at The Meydan Hotel, participants from around the world will be following a number of keynote speeches, sessions and discussions that will enrich their knowledge about the latest urban development and urban sustainability solutions and smart technologies, and help developers and decision-makers to face future challenges.

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