Sustainable City Design
15 March 2020
Tailored Learning Experiences with NYUAD
5 April 2020

Visiting an Environmentally – Friendly Park – Exploring Umm Al Emarat Park in Abu Dhabi

A well designed park does wonders for a city, environmentally and socially, and as Fredrick Law Olmsted once said, parks are “the lungs of the city”. Eedama gives everyone the opportunity to explore Umm Al Emarat Park in a unique, peculiar, proactive way, and enjoy a day of outdoor education. We get to tour one of Abu Dhabi’s sustainable parks and learn all about its design, material, features, and what makes it environmentally friendly.

We’ve got programs for all ages. Picking one: In January we welcomed 80 eleventh grade students from Dubai International Academy that arrived at the park to explore and audit it. We started from the parking lot, where we introduced the park and discussed the car park electric chargers. How are they shaded? Where is the energy from? And how sustainable are they?

Going into the park, we entered towards the wisdom center, filled with quotes from HH Sheikh Zayed, may he rest in peace. The wisdom center is filled with quotes that refer to different types of sustainability. Students were asked to try and identify these quotes and figure out the meaning behind them. We climbed to the top of the shade house, (shown in the image below), which is a structure used to protect tropical plants by providing a suitable space and micro-climate for them. We highlighted the positives and negatives of it, and discussed how it worked and why it was designed in this manner.
Continuing our tour, we stopped by the organic farm, where we discussed the differences between organic and urban farming, and how they can affect sustainability, not just environmentally, but even economically. We went on to the native plants found in the park, plants that were once used as sources for medicine, food, and shade.

Our final station was the zoo, where we introduced the topic of permaculture and discussed how applying it, this space could be more sustainable. Waste produced by the animals is already used as a fertilizer in the organic farm, so why not do more, use eggs and milk from the animals in park restaurants, and help in reducing the carbon footprint.
Concluding the tour, we discussed how to make the park more sustainable. Maybe by adding solar panels to the parking lot, using them as shades for the cars in the process. Having less open green spaces would also help, these open grass areas get dry very fast, therefore needing lots of water. Students shared their ideas and opinions about what changed they would make.

Coordinating the field trip with a workshop, the most popular one for the park is one where students get to design their own sustainable park. We give them a layout of a park in the city, and implementing what they’ve learned throughout the day, they come up with their own sustainable design. We also ask them to retrofit the existing park of Umm Al Emarat in order to come up with better sustainable solutions to be implemented in the park.

For younger ages, the workshop includes a competitive game of sorting plants and animals to their right ecosystem and creating their own bookmark reusing the leaves and plants they find around. As for the tour, it’s an adapted version where the students get to learn more about the plants, animals as well as learning about filtering water and the country’s climate.

Click here to for more details about our Umm Al Emarat Park tour.

Mariam Radwan
Mariam Radwan
Sustainability Instructor at Eedama.

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