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Al Ain Master Plan

Early iterations of the master plan gained a Winner of the BEX ‘Best Master plan’ Award in 2007.


In an arid environment on the north-east outskirts of Al Ain an oasis town a plot of 9.6 sq miles HOK created an award winning master plan for a low rise, ecologically aware living and working alternative to Dubai and Abu Dhabi for 115,000 people.


A team of 20 architects and 6 landscape architects worked with Populous, Thomas Lobb and Martha Schwartz to develop the master plan.

Anna Tennent led the team developing the urban design and landscape strategies and associated design guidelines. As landscape and urban design project manager, Anna successfully delivered the Stage 2 reports including specific designs and strategies for the character of the shelter belts, highway, lighting, way-finding, street furniture and hard and soft landscaping elements for the whole master plan, the civic gateways and principal open spaces, the local parks, the landscape spine and the twenty four individual neighbourhoods.

The main landscape designs focus on the development of a sports ring and associated sports city, golf course and desert crescent designed by Martha Schwartz Associates that lay at the centre of a landscape spine that ran east to west as a linear canal park . Anna was responsible for ensuring that the information from the different practices involved in the landscape and ecological strategy were integrated into the plans and documents

The landscape character strategy for the Al Ain master plan was based on a matrix consisting of a North-South continuum of Natural/Urban texture, and an East-West continuum of Modern/Historical aesthetic. The matrix defined the mood and language for each district. Landscapes were designed to reflect this language in settings ranging from urban centres to suburban areas on the desert edge.

Historically, water has been a defining resource in the life of Al Ain. This is represented by the canal running through the site. The planting typologies start as tropical/lush in districts adjacent to the life-giving canal, then move into groves and orchards, where the water is more carefully managed, then the districts furthest from the spine have arid, desert planting.

The key objectives were to create an attractive and stimulating location for 26 distinctive districts, while maintaining a clear hierarchy and structure, with excellent access and circulation.


Early iterations of the master plan gained a Winner of the BEX ‘Best Master plan’ Award in 2007.


Project Type: Master-Plan
Location: Abu Dhabi
Date: 2007
Contract Value: Not Known


Landscape Architecture, Urban Design, Master-Planning, Sustainable Design, Green Infrastructure, Project Management, Partnership Working.