In January 2019 the United Arab Emirates unveiled a global first: a national community design policy for building happier, healthier communities across the country.

We led the development of this policy, and we’re excited to see it roll out in the UAE. Beyond that, our hope is that creating such a policy may represent the start of something critical: a list of everything communities need to support human wellbeing.

The strategy identifies six key urban design realms for happier communities:

Together these strategies address the latest research on building happier, healthier communities: where to put them, how to design them, what to put in them, and how to connect all the places within them. Each one is spiked with some best practices— everything from encouraging volunteerism and supporting events to using technology to bring residents together.

Our next phase is releasing an assessment tool that will allow communities and developers to rate whether they are achieving their wellbeing design goals.

We tell the whole story in this article. You can also check out the project announcement here. The full report in English will be released on our website soon.

Are you a planner, developer or official wanting to develop your own strategy or plan for happier, healthier communities? Talk to us.