Al Ain Urban Extension Abu Dhabi

Al Ain, in the emirate of Abu Dhabi, is the fourth largest city in the United Arab Emirates and is situated in the desert some 150 kilometres from the Gulf coast. The city is often referred to as ‘The Garden City of the Gulf’. A multidisciplinary team was established to oversee the implementation of a masterplan for a major proposed sustainable urban extension to the city.

Biodiversity by Design was commissioned to advise the team on two key aspects of the masterplan:

- To set out an ecologically-informed aspirational strategy for the use of water in the proposed landscape; and
- To design planting schemes that would integrate with and complement the existing planted areas of the city.

The company drew upon the rich and varied habitats, flora and fauna in the city’s hinterland to contribute to the design of aesthetically pleasing opportunities for wildlife within the city, that at the same time performed other functions to enhance the quality of life within an extremely hot environment.

These functions included climatic amelioration, environmental and cultural education, artistic expression, irrigation storage and food production. Advice was also given in relation to biological control of potential pest and vector species.

Ultimate Client
Abu Dhabi Government

Proximate Client
Buro Happold

Design Team Leader


Landscape Architect
Martha Schwartz

Civil Engineer
Buro Happold

Middle East & Africa

Site Area
Greater than 100 Hectares