Abu Dhabi clears away disused buildings that “distort” city’s appearance

Abu Dhabi’s local government has demolished 220 abandoned buildings throughout the city.

The authorities said the structures "distorted the urban appearance of the city" and posed a health hazard. 

The buildings were in locations such as east and west Abu Dhabi Island, the Free Zone and old Al Samha.

Abu Dhabi City Municipality plans to demolish 272 others in the future. The structures chosen include industrial plots, commercial outlets, residential buildings and communal houses. 

The municipality said they only tear down buildings if notices for maintenance or rehabilitation of the site are not met.

Image: A demolition site (Viorel Dudau/Dreamstime)

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  1. Whilst I applaud the objective to clean up the cityscape, the environmental impact of such demolition and the buildings’ original construction should be highlighted. Buildings are not like cars, where a take-back or scrapage scheme may have a high degree of circularity as regards components and may be justified in terms of improved product efficiency. In contrast, only a small fraction of buildings and the energy used in their construction is recovered and the new building may never offset any improvements in say, energy usage, in its lifetime. Short life buildings should be constructed differently, to maximise recovery.

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