Natural park planned for Dubai

Natural park planned for Dubai
Dubai, a city already known for its massive collection of parks, attractions and amenities, is getting its first Natural Adventure Park, according to officials.

The park is planned for the Mushrif Park area, west of uptown Mirdif and somewhat inland from the Dubai coastal area.

Officials estimate the park will get 23,000 visitors in its first year, and 35,000 by the second year. At the end of the park’s fourth year, officials expect 69,000 visitors annually.

Features will include ropes courses and climbing on horizontal and vertical walls.

Planners expect the project to draw school groups and give younger visitors some much-needed time away from devices and the artificial environments of a major city.

“We believe that dealing with nature is a basic human need, especially for young people who need persuasion to stop the use of electronic gadgets,” Mohammad Al Awadhi, director of Parks and Horticulture Department in Dubai, said in a press release. “For people who are looking for something to help them escape from their daily routine, it is the best way to do so.”

The Natural Adventure Park is impressive by any standard, not just for its financial impact, but because it represents a very modern outlook toward quality of life. While packing the city full of other attractions, Dubai planners also recognize principles held by school administrators, health experts and other technocrats: that people are meant to experience nature.

The advent of the natural park project and so many other new projects in downtown Dubai continue to enhance the city’s status as a world leader in urban innovation.

For some insight on what’s driving the UAE’s enormous investment in “quality of life” infrastructure, Gulf News Journal spoke with Mahfuz Meherzad Friday. Meherzad is an adjunct professor of government and political affairs at Millersville University in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania.

“They’re preparing to be a post-oil economy,” Meherzad told Gulf News Journal. “They want to re-brand the UAE as a tourist destination -- a play land.”

Meherzad said the UAE seeks to diversify away from oil as prices fall, and away from financial services, for which demand can be volatile. Also, he said, planners invest in parks and other amenities to try to dissolve a “simmering tension” that exists, in part, because the citizenry lacks some of the hallmarks of a modern democracy, such as electoral power.

“They make sure that the people are well-fed and well-amused,” Meherzad said.
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