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Environmental Asset Leveraging

A. Jackson and L. Jackson

The Arabian Gulf marine environment, like many others, has been badly impacted by coastal developments and the United Nations University recently warned of the extent of the damage.   Developers are now starting to realise that the environmental values - such as sandy beaches, clear water, marine habitats, etc -  associated with their sites are a real asset that has a substantial financial value.  Nakheel recently announced that they were going to install 500 artificial reefs in the vicinity of their developments in Dubai - this will help recover some of the marine amenity that had been lost by developments such as the Palms that covered reef and seagrass habitats.   

We are about to embark on the second year of working with Dubai schools and the Pavillions Dive Centre to design, construct, install and monitor artifical reef units suitable for the Arabian Gulf environment.  This work will be part of a larger dive attraction for the dive centre.  The modules installed last year as the first stage of the programme and dive attraction are already attracting marine life, including dolphins.  This year we will build on the lessons learned. 

So leveraging the value of that asset in the design process makes sense [and dollars] and can make the difference between a long term sustainable and profitable development and one that fails as it has destroyed the environmental asset.  We have demonstrated on a number of projects worldwide that working with nature, not against, can result in substanial savings.  For example, too often are expensive concrete seawalls installed to maximise land area while destroying the beaches that previously existed and reduching the overall value of the development. 

See our latest presentation below [Keynote at World Eco Construct in Abu Dhabi on 24/4/2012] on using innovative solutions to leverage the environmental asset value of coastal sites.