Greenery now abounds in Dubai’s gardens, parks, streets and roundabouts, thanks to the policy of continuous planting implemented by the Department of Agriculture. As the Emirates’ booming construction programme continues to expand the built environment, so new areas of land are cultivated, including the plantation of green belts around the city to protect against storms and blowing sand and to counter pollution. These efforts also form part of the Department’s agricultural plant to landscape 8% of the emirate; rapid progress toward this objective is demonstrated by the figures released by Dubai Municipality.
Dubai is in bloom all year round thank to the growth of early winter plants in special covered nurseries, a Dhs 6 million project funded by the Municipality. Greenhouse facilities have enabled local production of a wide variety of plants, including grafted species, which are difficult to produce in normal circumstances, indoor plants that grow in special environments and agricultural plants that require fertilizers, insecticides and artificial soil.
Dubai’s gardens and parks can be divided into three groups – city gardens, street gardens and parks. The numerous city centre gardens create a welcome respite from shopping, business and traffic, with seats spread among the lush greenery and shady trees. Popular gardens include Al Ittihad, Zabeel, Dubai high School Memorial, Burj Nahar, Airport and Creekside.
In residential areas, there are a number of street gardens, such as Naif, Al Wasl, Al Hamryia, Al Rashidiya and the Tank garden, which provide recreation for local inhabitants, particularly ladies at home, and a safe playing area for children.
Of the large parks providing greenery and open space across the Emirate, possibly one of the most important is Al Mushref Park, located in the Mushref area about 15km from the city. Special features of the park are its stock of long living Gaf trees and its many leisure sections, including the international village which contains scale models of houses from around the world, from Arabia, England, Norway, Thailand, Indonesia and Japan. There are also area for games and expansive green plains stretching over long distances, scattered with flowers, plants decorative trees and palms.
Safa Park, on Sheikh Zayed Road, occupies 63 hectares of which 80% is green plains, with separate areas provided for games and sports. The park contains examples of many different international gardens and local trees and a large lake surrounded by thick trees, which provides sufficient natural environment to attract various species of migrating birds.
Al Mamzar Park on the northeastern coast of the Emirate covers some 99 hectares, including over 500,000sq.m. of greenery with palm and coconut trees. It is the only park that can boast three beaches, in addition to recreation areas and a swimming pool for all ages. The park also has a number of chalets, restaurants, refreshment counters and other services.
Dubai’s first beach park is at Jumeriah Beach, located on the Arabian Gulf. Its 13 hectares are a beautiful example of landscaping where greenery and amusement areas are carefully set out along the beach.
Adjacent to the Dubai Creej is a 96-hectare park, which includes a small golf course, a children’s playground and many restaurants.
Dubai’s drive to become an established tourism destination and travel stopover has been supported by the creation of international standard sports clubs and recreation areas. Golf courses have been created not only for local use but to emphasize Dubai’s leading tourism and commercial role in the region.
Its three clubs have made the Emirate a regional oasis and worldwide attractions for golf lovers. The Emirates Golf Club was inaugurated in 1988 and became the first international championship standard golf course in the Middle East. The 18-hole course has attracted many international golf champions and is host to the Desert Classic championship.
According to Karl Litten, the international golf club architect, the Dubai Creek Golf Club is one of the best and most beautiful clubs worldwide. The Club is attractive for playing, spectating or just relaxing at its restaurants and bars, since it is very close to the city an welcomes visitors until late into the night for only moderate fees.
Dubai Golf and Racing Club provides players with excellent playing facilities under floodlights so that golf can be enjoyed during the cooler evenings. Player’s can also enjoy watching horse races on the adjacent course, an important local event attended by a cosmopolitan mix of local and international personalities.