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EDITOR IN CHIEF- ABDULLAH BIN SALIM AL SHUEILI

The Sustainable City – Yiti: Mainstreaming sustainability in urban developments

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MUSCAT, MAY 13


In line with Oman Vision 2040, the Sultanate of Oman is moving away from one-sided socio-economic development dependent on oil and gas towards a diversified, inclusive, equitable and sustainable national economy. To make good on its commitment to the Paris Agreement that aims to keep global warming within 1.5°C above pre-industrial levels, the country is working to reduce its carbon footprint, drive the transition to renewables and embrace circular economy practices.


Amidst these efforts, urban sustainability is fast entering the mainstream. Many developers have been pursuing the goal of providing residents with a superior quality of life for decades, but now they need to do so without compromising the needs of future generations. The pinnacle of this trend is The Sustainable City – Yiti, set to be the largest operational sustainable community in the world, which is taking shape on an ocean shore in Yiti, Muscat, in north-eastern Oman. The project is a joint partnership between Oman Tourism Development Company (Omran) and Diamond Developers.


The city follows the blueprint for low-carbon living pioneered by The Sustainable City in Dubai which opened in 2015. The model ensures a reduction in carbon footprint from design to operation, using disruptive innovation to achieve transformational societal change.


The Sustainable City – Yiti aspires to become Oman’s first Net-Zero-Emissions community by 2040. Estimated for full completion by 2025, the city will serve as a living lab for testing sustainable technologies, presenting opportunities for research and learning and paving the way for a widespread deployment of cutting-edge green solutions.


Designed with the highest social, environmental and economic sustainability standards in mind, the masterplan of the one-million square-foot development was inspired by Omani heritage. As a result, the look and feel of the entire city will be in perfect harmony with the environment.


The Sustainable City – Yiti has adopted energy-efficient home design, eco-friendly building materials, and design and construction methods that surpass requirements set by major building rating systems. In construction, the $1 billion development favours high-quality, durable materials with an extended lifecycle, as they cut down on the long-term costs associated with maintenance or replacement.


The Sustainable City – Yiti will use precast wall panels to reduce the volume of construction waste. It will also incorporate recycled materials in playgrounds and other outdoor facilities.


The integrated development seeks to generate 100% of its operational energy requirements from renewable sources (solar and biogas). In addition, it aims to achieve 100% water recycling, 100% waste diversion from landfill and 80% self-sufficiency in food. Each of its more than 1,650 residential units will feature energy-efficient appliances to minimise electricity consumption and associated costs.


Implementing circular economy principles will enable residents to enjoy a large reduction in their utility bills – up to 100% on electricity and up to 50% on water – compared to conventional households.


The extensive urban landscape and green spine will enhance the microclimate, lower ambient temperature, and improve air quality at The Sustainable City – Yiti. Shaded sikkas (narrow streets) and porous pavements will reduce heat islands, while wind corridors will further enhance thermal comfort.


In line with the development’s live-work-thrive philosophy, everything – from retail, dining, hospitality, leisure, and services to healthcare, education, and jobs – will be available on site, minimising the need for travel and slashing the carbon footprint. By focusing on soft mobility (walking and biking) and deploying electric buggies and autonomous shuttles across its car-free premises, The Sustainable City – Yiti will prevent transport-related air pollution.


The development will promote a culture of sustainability among its residents by involving them in urban farming and encouraging waste separation at source. The city will place high emphasis on celebrating environmental occasions, including World Environment Day, World Water Day, Earth Hour, and Earth Day, and organising eco-friendly events, such as the Electric Vehicle Road Trip. It will also be home to a sustainable market that will sell local and organic products.


The Welcome Centre at The Sustainable City – Yiti will offer tours and field visits to relevant stakeholders, including government, private sector, academia, and professional associations, as well as school and university students.


Once open, the development will host prominent guests from across the globe to exchange best practices, share experience in green cities and climate action, and explore strategies for protecting the environment and conserving the planet’s precious natural resources.


The Sustainable City – Yiti is a clear proof that sustainability can be achieved at no additional cost to developers and residents while creating in-country value and driving the adoption of a circular economy.


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