Cityscape Dubai was inaugurated by Dubai Municipality’s Dawoud Abdul Rahman Al Hajri.

Cityscape Dubai, the Middle East's leading real estate exhibition, ended on a successful note with a significant number of project launches involving some of the biggest names in the construction sector as well as sealing of strategic agreements during the three-day event last month (November 21 to 23).

Held at the Dubai World Trade Centre, the mega event was opened by Dawoud Abdul Rahman Al Hajri, Director General of Dubai Municipality, who later toured the expo and got a briefing on numerous new-to-market projects from the major industry players.

According to the organiser Informa Markets, after several years of showcasing the emirates’ grand property plans to trade bodies and large-scale investors, the DNA of Cityscape this year was slightly altered to better connect individual buyers, consultants and investors to leading developers and real estate brokers.

The objective of the strategy shift, stated Alex Heuff, the Exhibitions Director at Cityscape Dubai, was to continue increasing the quantity and value of real estate transactions in Dubai, which reached a record Dh300 billion ($81.67 billion) in 2021.

Major industry players such as Sobha Realty showcased their new mega projects.

Major industry players such as Sobha Realty showcased their new mega projects.

Among the highlights of the show this year was the sales launch of both off-plan and ready-to-live properties by some of the region’s top developers such as Sharjah developer Arada – which announced its foray into neighbouring Dubai with a luxury villa collection,  Jouri Hills at Jumeirah Golf Estates (see UAE Focus, Page 77) and Sobha Realty which unveiled the mixed-use project Sobha Hartland II, spread over a 8-million-sq-ft area in Dubai featuring a mix of five- to six-bedroom villas and one- to four-bedroom apartments.

Another big announcement came from Azizi Developments, which signed a strategic deal with Dubai South to acquire a 15-million-sq-ft plot of land within the master development for a proposed mixed-use community development.

Meanwhile, an innovative initiative by the organiser of Cityscape was the launch of CityscapeWIRE: Women in Real Estate, giving a shot in the arm to all female executives in this sector. The community will connect, grow and develop all year-round via dedicated digital platforms, as well as quarterly in-person events held across the region in 2023, including the UAE, Egypt and Saudi Arabia.

The launch events included a panel discussion featuring the initiative’s advisory board at the Cityscape Intelligence Talks on challenges such as improving the representation of women in the boardroom and how to strengthen relationships between women in the industry and leadership.

It featured Majida Ali Rashed, Assistant Director General of Dubai Land Department; Lynnette Sacchetto, Director Data and Digital Transformation at Allsopp & Allsopp; Christine Espinosa, Senior Associate at Godwin Austen Johnson, and Dounia Fadi, Managing Director at eXp Dubai.

This year's ‘Cityscape Intelligence Talks’ witnessed high participation as the invite-only event was thrown open to the public.  The idea behind this move was to encourage visitors to engage with key speakers and industry analysts to learn more about the market, prior to purchasing a property, said the organiser.

The Talks put the spotlight on sustainability, Expo City Dubai’s future and how technology and efficiency were impacting the sector during a fireside discussion with Ahmed Al Khatib, Chief Development and Delivery Officer at Expo City Dubai.

Staying on sustainability, a panel comprising Hamza Betraoui, Managing Director, Land Sterling; Mohamed Shawky, CEO, Gis Drones; and Henrique Pereira, CEO, Taka Solutions, discussed how technology is playing a crucial part in improving sustainability standards and efficiency within buildings.