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Balancing Infrastructure Projects and Affordable Homeownership

Traditionally Dubai has always been a city built on luxury accommodation, but as it continues to grow so too does the workforce. But not all of those moving into the city are high net worth individuals. Many are looking for affordable housing that is reasonably priced to serve middle-income groups. According to, affordable housing in Dubai accounts for 70% of announced future supply, from just 11% in 2013, to 50% in 2021.

As the number of new housing developments grows so does the infrastructure.

But this demand and growth is often accompanied by challenges, such as cost overruns, budget constraints, and safety concerns. One of the most significant challenges is balancing infrastructure projects, affordable housing efforts, and building codes.

Infrastructure and Affordable Housing

Infrastructure development is essential for the growth of cities and regions. It provides the essential services that residents rely on, such as transportation, water, and energy. However, infrastructure projects can be costly, and budget overruns are common. This can divert funds from other vital infrastructure needs, such as affordable housing.

The challenge is to provide affordable housing without sacrificing quality or increasing costs significantly. Inclusionary zoning policies, which require developers to include affordable housing units in new projects or contribute to an affordable housing fund, are one way to address this crisis.

Building Codes and Safety

Building codes are essential for ensuring the safety of buildings and their occupants. They establish standards for construction materials, design, and construction practices. However, building codes can also add substantially to construction costs, with estimates suggesting they can account for up to 30% of total costs. The challenge here is to find the right balance between safety and financial feasibility.

Finding Harmony in Construction

Achieving balance between infrastructure projects, affordable housing, and building codes is challenging but not impossible. Some of the strategies that can be employed are:

  • Explore cost-effective and sustainable construction materials and techniques. This can help to meet building codes while keeping costs reasonable. For example, prefabricated construction methods can reduce construction time and waste, while using recycled materials can help to lower costs and environmental impact.
  • Expand affordable housing projects for lower market prices. This is crucial given the soaring demand for affordable housing. Statistics reveal a significant demand-supply gap that has driven prices up. Increasing such projects can create a competitive market, potentially resulting in lower prices.
  • Collaboration among government authorities, developers, and communities can help to find solutions that prioritise affordability without compromising safety.
  • A continuous assessment and adjustment of policies to strike the right balance between development, affordability, and safety. This is important as conditions change and new technologies emerge. For example, many cities are now updating their building codes to reflect the latest advances in energy efficiency and sustainability.

Balancing infrastructure projects, affordable homeownership initiatives, and building codes is a unique challenge in the construction industry. Finding the right equilibrium requires creativity, collaboration, and a commitment to both safety and affordability. By addressing these challenges directly and seeking innovative solutions, we can pave the way for more prosperous and inclusive urban development.