Posted inOpinionResidential

The rise of community living in the Middle East

From shared amenities to sustainable design, deep dive into how community living fosters connection and enhances quality of life for residents

The rise of community living in the Middle East

The residential real estate landscape in the Middle East is undergoing a significant transformation. As the region’s population continues to urbanise, the market, traditionally dominated by spacious villas and standalone apartments, is witnessing a surge in demand for community living developments. These are housing solutions that cater to evolving lifestyles and demographics. This approach departs from the concept of exclusivity as a living experience, and fosters a sense of belonging and connection within well-designed residential developments.

As people continue to recover from the isolation experience during the pandemic, the concept of community living is gaining significant traction. Community living refers to a residential development that fosters a sense of belonging and connection among residents, typically featuring a mix of housing options – apartments, townhouses, and villas – alongside shared spaces like landscaped gardens, swimming pools, fitness centres, and community centres. Going beyond mere physical proximity, community living creates a vibrant ecosystem where individuals can interact, share amenities, and participate in social activities.

Forces driving the trend

Several factors underpin the rising popularity of community living in the Middle East. The most important among these is the region’s rapidly evolving demographics, characterised by a young population with a strong desire for social interaction and networking. A significant portion of them are entering the workforce and seeking affordable housing options. Community living offers them an attractive alternative to traditional standalone villas. Besides, as more individuals migrate to major cities in search of employment opportunities, rapid urbanisation is further amplifying this trend as they also look for enhanced lifestyles.

Community living meets the growing need for efficient use of space in an expanding city, and compact, well-designed community developments offer a sustainable solution catering to a denser population. A change in lifestyle preferences also plays a pivotal role in shaping the demand for community-centric residential developments. Modern consumers increasingly prioritise experiences over possessions, seeking environments that offer not just shelter but also enriching social interactions and recreational activities. Community living addresses these aspirations by providing residents with a holistic living experience that transcends the solitariness of large but individual dwellings.

The draw of community living lies in its ability to enhance the overall quality of life for residents. By fostering a sense of belonging and camaraderie, these developments promote social cohesion and reduce feelings of isolation. Shared amenities such as parks, swimming pools, and fitness centres encourage active lifestyles and promote physical well-being. Moreover, the presence of community events and cultural programs fosters a rich experience, instilling a deeper sense of ‘connection’ to their surroundings in residents.

Leading by examples

Major cities in the Middle East are buzzing with developers who are embracing the concept of community living and introducing innovative residential projects in keeping with this trend. One such example is The Sustainable City in Dubai, a pioneering eco-friendly development that emphasises sustainability, community engagement, and holistic well-being. Featuring solar panels, organic farms, and pedestrian-friendly streets, this development exemplifies the convergence of environmental consciousness and communal living, in keeping with its three-tiered approach to sustainability that encompasses social, environmental and economic sustainability. It has been recognised as the ‘happiest community’ in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries for three consecutive years.

Another example is King Abdullah Economic City (KAEC) in Saudi Arabia which stands out as a master-planned community that seamlessly integrates residential, commercial, and recreational components. Located on the shores of the Red Sea, KAEC spans over an area of 181 million square meters, and with its extensive network of parks, sports facilities, and cultural hubs, epitomises the concept of a self-contained community where residents can live, work, and play without having to commute long distances.

Future trends and innovations in community living

The future of the community living in the Middle East is poised to embrace innovation on multiple fronts. Smart technologies will play an increasingly integral role in enhancing the efficiency and convenience of communal living spaces. From automated energy management systems to IoT-enabled security solutions, residents can expect a seamless integration of technology into their daily lives.

Besides, sustainable design principles will continue to gain prominence as developers prioritise eco-friendly practices and green building standards. The integration of renewable energy sources, water conservation measures, and green spaces will not only minimise environmental impact but also create healthier and more liveable communities. Cultural enrichment programs will also play an important role in fostering a vibrant community fabric, celebrating the region’s diverse heritage and fostering cross-cultural exchange. Whether through art exhibitions, culinary festivals, or traditional performances, these initiatives will serve to unite residents and celebrate the rich tapestry of Middle Eastern culture.

The rise of community living represents a paradigm shift in residential real estate trends in the Middle East. As developers continue to embrace this concept and introduce innovative projects that prioritise social interaction, sustainability, and cultural enrichment, residents benefit from an enhanced quality of life and a greater sense of belonging. This will be especially crucial as Dubai aims to double its population by 2040, anticipated to be led by expatriates who now comprise 85 per cent of the city’s population. By staying attuned to evolving demographic trends and lifestyle preferences, the real estate industry can seize the opportunities presented by community living to create thriving, cohesive communities that endure for generations to come.