More than 50 interested people took the opportunity to get to know the cosmopolitan trade city on the Persian Gulf and also to exchange and network with each other. The participants consisted of graduates and students of the relevant fields of study Real Estate & Building, Renewable Energy Systems as well as Environmental Technologies and International Affairs.
As a kick-off to the three-day field trip, a city tour offered a first overview of the capital of the Emirate Dubai. Remarkable construction projects are built in Dubai almost non-stop, creating spectacular skylines. Compared to the neighboring emirate of Abu Dhabi, Dubai has a lower oil supply and has been pursuing a compensation strategy for years: Dubai as a whole is focusing on tourism and sparing no effort in doing so. Artificially created islands, for example, are to extend the original 70 km of beach to 1,000 km of tourist beaches in the coming years.
The second day was dedicated to Expo 2020 (the name was kept after the postponement from 2020 to 2021 due to Covid19). Andreas Pfleger, the deputy economic delegate of the Foreign Trade Center Abu Dhabi received the delegation in the Austria Pavilion, opens an external URL in a new window and reported on the economic sectors real estate, energy and environment in Dubai and the economic relations between Austria and the United Arab Emirates, supported by Mr. Shankar Menon, Key Account Marketing Manager of the Foreign Trade Center Abu Dhabi. Then, Philipp Schramel, the head of the Austrian Pavilion, gave an overview of the Austrian contribution to the Expo - with the extraordinary architecture of the pavilion and the focus "Austria makes sense", the exhibition inside shows a consistent, well thought-out overall concept and combines people, technology and the environment into an impressive experience made for all senses. After lunch in the pavilion, the participants were free to explore the Expo on their own.
Last but not least, the final day offered an intense course-specific expert program for the respective participants - they could choose from programs in the fields of Real Estate and Energy & Environment.
The participants of the Real Estate Track started the specialized day with a meeting with two experts from CBRE Middle East Region, opens an external URL in a new window: Nicholas Maclean RD FRICS IRRV (Managing Director) and Taimur Khan (Head of Research). In his presentation, Mr. Khan gave a detailed insight into the real estate industry of the United Arab Emirates, discussed the Covid-19 related economic developments and the future prospects for the region and Dubai in particular. Afterwards, the participants took the opportunity to ask the experts questions and exchange experiences. Nicholas Maclean, who has also taken over the board of RICS for one year, reported on the restructuring so that RICS can again be of immediate and efficient use to its members.
After starting off with real estate theory, the delegation headed to the Mohammed Bin Rashid City urban development area in the afternoon to visit one of the construction projects on site. The host, Sobha Realty, opens an external URL in a new window, an international luxury residential developer, is developing the Sobha Hartland area, opens an external URL in a new window with various housing types; from one-bedroom apartments to 6 bedroom villas. Wave, the tallest residential tower in Sobha Hartland will dominate the area with 35th floors. After a detailed safety briefing, all visitors were equipped with protective gear and led in small groups to the construction site on the 21st floor. The tour of the construction site with the various stages of completion and the subsequent exhibition of the construction details (floor and terrace superstructures, sanitary piping and other details) provided an excellent insight into the construction method and the quality standards of Sobha Realty.
The program of the Energy & Environment track started with a visit to two research projects of Khalifa University near Masdar City, Abu Dhabi. The Masdar Insititute's Solar Platform, opens an external URL in a new window, built in 2009, includes a solar thermal power plant with a 20-meter-high platform (Concentrated Solar Power,) and thermal energy storage facilities. The facility tests reflector technologies, solar receivers, and thermal energy storage systems, among others, for use in the CSP industry. The second project to be toured was a facility producing sustainable biofuels for aviation. The Seawater Energy and Agriculture System (SEAS, opens an external URL in a new window) combines an integrated system of aquaculture, halo agriculture, and mangrove silviculture. In 2019, the first flight using the fuel produced by the SEAS project took place.
After a visit to the Great Mosque in Abu Dhabi, the so-called Sustainable City, opens an external URL in a new window in the southwest of Dubai was on the schedule. On an area of 5 million square meters, the real estate company Diamond Developers, opens an external URL in a new window successfully demonstrates that energy-efficient residential design and sustainable building methods are possible and sensible even in the subtropical climate of the Middle East.
We would like to thank all partners for the friendly reception of our delegation on site and the impressions and insights offered. We hope to see our students and alumni again soon in the course of one of our ACE Networking Events at TU Vienna.