Against a backdrop of heatwaves and droughts in certain parts of the world, and record rainfall and devastating floods in others, a one-billion-dollar development in Oman is literally building a better future, for the Sultanate of Oman, the Middle East, and the global population at large.
Upon completion in 2025, The Sustainable City - Yiti in Oman – a partnership between Diamond Developers and Oman Tourism Development Company (OMRAN Group) – will be the largest operational sustainable community in the world, while creating tangible environmental, economic and social benefits for the country.
In an interview with Observer, Ammar al Kharusi, Development Director, Yiti Tourism Development Company says: “As we can see over the world, climate change is having a dramatic impact on our everyday lives. The time when adopting sustainable habits was a choice has come and gone, it is imperative we all play our part in tackling this major issue. At The Sustainable City Yiti, we are doing just that and collaborating to drive environmental, social and economic benefits within Oman.”
In line with the goals of the Oman Vision 2040, a wide-ranging blueprint for economic and social development over the next two decades, The Sustainable City - Yiti will not only contribute toward the country’s climate change agenda, but also provide more employment, additional housing, boost the tourism industry and put Oman on the world stage when it comes to future industries and sustainability.
The in-country value of the project extends beyond the expected creation of 900 direct and indirect jobs, with the potential for local businesses and SMEs to reap the rewards of The Sustainable City - Yiti.
Using eco-friendly materials, the development, which is strategically located in the capital, Muscat, harbors real ambitions to be the first Net Zero Carbon community in Oman by 2040. Built over one million square metres, it will include 1,657 residential units, and will comprise 300 villas and 1,225 apartments, as well as 132 luxury serviced apartments.
The city will play a significant role in avoiding carbon emissions across Oman by producing clean energy, adopting clean mobility solutions like autonomous shuttles and electric cars, and deploying EV charging stations around the project to accelerate EV adoption.
It aims to rely on renewable energy — both solar and biogas — and achieve the highest waste diversion rates along with waste & water recycling. The recycled water will be used to irrigate a productive urban landscape, and the resulting vegetation will keep the city cooler.
By creating a live-work-thrive city, that is green, energy efficient, and people-centric, community residents will be encouraged to support a culture of sustainability through involvement in urban farming, community gardening, and separating waste at source.
Ammar al Kharusi added: “Essentially this is a city within a city, that is being built on a philosophy of social inclusion, with an emphasis on nature and wellbeing. The population will be diverse with mixed housing typologies to suit different needs, ages, and incomes.”
The city follows the blueprint for low-carbon living that was pioneered by the first ‘The Sustainable City’, which opened in Dubai in 2016. This model ensures a reduction in carbon footprint, from design to operation, using disruptive innovation to achieve transformational societal change.
At the award-winning Dubai development, home to over 2,700 residents, each house produces 25 to 30 kWh per day, 365 days per year; wastewater is 100% recycled and reused for irrigation; each house produces hot water using solar water heaters on the roof; and the entire development is powered by 10 MW peak of photovoltaic modules covering 600,000 square feet of rooftops and carparks – drastically reducing electricity bills compared to conventional housing.
Salah Habib, Chief Executive Officer at Diamond Developers said: “We learned many lessons from our inaugural project in Dubai, which has made a significant impact on the quality of lives of residents living within the community. We have taken the best practices of that development, made additional improvements, and replicated them at The Sustainable City - Yiti to ensure we reach our own targets and exceed all expectations across Oman.”
Fundamentally, the city is aligning with the UN Sustainable Development Goals, adopted in 2015 by all UN member states, the shared blueprint for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future. The 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) include improving health and education, reducing inequality, and spur economic growth – with the overarching goal to tackle climate change.
“Tackling the climate crisis cannot be done alone, it’s up to everyone, governments, businesses and members of the public to work together so we can all enjoy a better future.”
The The Sustainable City - Yiti also backs Oman’s National Tourism Strategy (NTS), which was launched back in 2016 with the goal of increasing international arrivals to the country to 11.7 million visitors annually, up from 2.6 million arrivals in 2015. It also aims to boost the contribution tourism makes to Oman’s GDP to more than 6%.
Salah Habib concluded: “We are confident that this development will further enhance the tourism offering in Oman. With our particular support for eco-tourism, the project will feature a four-star neighbourhood hotel with 204 rooms, a five-star resort with 170 rooms and a range of restaurants, numerous leisure facilities, and beachfront access. The diverse needs of visitors are further catered for through the luxury serviced apartments for long stay visitors and residents.”