Dubai, January 30 2019: Smart Dubai and Arup Middle East signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on Sunday, December 16, 2018, to collaborate in exploring how the built environment, which refers to all human-made surroundings that provide the setting for human activity, can contribute to enhancing community happiness and wellbeing, especially in a smart world where technology plays an increasingly important role.
The 20-week agreement will see both entities put their knowledge and expertise at the disposal of one another to move forward towards Dubai’s stated objective of becoming the world’s happiest city. The Emirate developed the Happiness Agenda for that objective, which is overseen by Smart Dubai. For its part, Arup has conducted extensive research on how to improve happiness and community wellbeing through multidisciplinary city planning and design. The findings and outcomes of the collaboration will be shared with the public in 2019.
Her Excellency Dr Aisha Bint Butti Bin Bishr, Director General of Smart Dubai, said: “While we are indeed on a mission to transform Dubai into a world leader in smart cities and advanced technologies, Smart Dubai has never regarded technology as an end in itself, but rather a means to make life easier and more enjoyable for the citizens, residents and visitors of the emirate, and to spread happiness among them.”
“Smart Dubai is the entity officially entrusted with overseeing the Happiness Agenda,” Dr Aisha added, “which is a ground-breaking, science-based approach that measures the happiness of individuals in the city and builds on that to design and implement initiatives that serve people and make them happier. We have already launched several successful initiatives that have raised the city’s score on the Happiness Index to 90% in 2016. We are now aiming for an ambitious 95% by 2021.”
“This objective is by no means an easy one, and with that in mind, Smart Dubai is always keen on expanding our extensive network of partners. Today’s agreement with Arup Middle East allows us to tap into their expertise in tailoring the built environment to address people’s needs, which, in turn, allows us to build a sophisticated smart city that is designed to make people happy,” H.E. concluded.
The main objective of the collaboration is to jointly develop a Happiness Framework and related Assessment Tool options, which combine both design and operational aspects of happiness and wellbeing within the built and smart environment.
For her part, Mrs Joanne Carmichael, Middle East Planning Leader of Arup, said “Arup is excited to be working closely with Smart Dubai to explore how the built environment can contribute to enhancing community wellbeing, which builds upon an extensive amount of research Arup has already done in this field. The collaboration between both entities will bring in their complementary expertise to focus on answering a key question for the Emirate and push forward the Happiness Agenda, which promises to be useful for everyone working in the built environment.”
Following the initial inception meeting, the project will be implemented in three stages, the first of which is Research Blending and Gap Analysis. During this stage, the two parties will work to put together a collaborative, evidence-based research report comprising outputs from Arup – design, environment and social – and outputs from Smart Dubai on smart city experience.
Stage two – titled Happiness Framework for the Built Environment – will include collaborative and internal workshops between the two entities to discuss the outcomes of stage one and the Happiness Framework, in addition to outlining the opportunity and benefits of considering happiness through place, community and city design.
The third and final stage focuses on Happiness Assessment Tool Options, where the two entities work to develop several “implementable” options of innovative tools that assess happiness in the built environment, and then shortlist them based on selection criteria, as well as a SWOT analysis to create the optimal Happiness Assessment Tool.
As the Government entity driving Dubai’s transformation into a world-leading smart city, Smart Dubai provides advanced services that improve people’s lives and increase happiness among them. Meanwhile, Arup is an independent international firm, bringing together designers, planners, engineers, consultants and technical specialists, working across every aspect of today’s built environment to shape a better world, and promote wellbeing and happiness.