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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

Structural plan for Greater Muscat to be completed in 2023

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Muscat: The master plan for Greater Muscat will be completed in the first quarter of 2023, it was revealed at the Ministry of Housing and Urban Planning on Thursday.


At the workshop held in Grand Millennium to discuss the master plan for Greater Muscat, officials said that some progress has been made in the first and second phases, which focused on collecting and analyzing data. The third phase will focus on the structural plan based on data collected from the first and second phases.


The seminar discussed the current state of planning in Greater Muscat, challenges facing urban growth, and development opportunities that can be exploited with the help of a high-standard master plan.


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The officials said that while there are no long-term feasibility plans for expanding the roads in Greater Muscat, there are other solutions like moving to alternative means such as public transportation, including the train infrastructure.


According to Eng Mohammed al Saeedi, the transportation planner said the use of public transport has to be increased to 20 percent from the current two percent to ease the dependence on private vehicles, which is currently at 94 percent.


Attended by over 100 participants from stakeholders from the public and private sectors, the workshop discussed natural and historical advantages, alternative and effective means of transportation, increasing density for sustainable growth, quality of services, reducing the risks of climate change, benefiting from the coasts and exploiting valleys as green infrastructure.


Greater Muscat is one of the main development drivers that is witnessing significant economic and population growth, especially after its integration with parts of Barka.


The emphasis on key sectors such as knowledge and innovation economy, finance, logistics tourism, and industry will help the Sultanate to become a leading city on regional and global levels. Its natural characteristics will make the Sultanate an attractive place to live, work and visit.


One of the most important aspects of the master plan is the use of land in urban areas, distribution of population, economic growth, integration of the public transport network, and sustainable green spaces that support community prosperity and protect the natural environment.


The workshop was held in the presence of Eng. Hamad al Nazwani, Undersecretary of Housing, and a number of concerned authorities


The project director of the master plan said that the results indicated that concluded 45% of the areas in the capital are vulnerable to floods from wadis and 20 percent of the areas from coastal floods.


Highlights


To reduce exposure and vulnerability to heat by densification of buildings {shade/ thermal comfort)m tree planting, solar reflectance of white and green spaces, wind flow to support passive cooling, and reduce facades facing critical sun path and % of glazing in buildings.


Designing for Flooding


To identify areas of strategic high risk, integrate with local level development plans enabling reduction of vulnerability where appropriate protect exposed seafront and wadi edges to contain flood impacts along worst-case scenarios


Acting on Emergencies


To map areas of safety for the local population, ensure access to the hospitals, facilitate localized safety areas or high spots with easy access, and incorporate early warning systems. power' backup' supply and improve awareness of the hazard scenarios- including swimming lessons.


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