Mashtal Plaza

Using native plants with a century-long history of usage, we created a nature-based orchard in Abu Dhabi to connect the neighborhood and provide a healthy space for sports, play, and social gatherings.

Curious for more?

Rasmus Astrup

Design Principal, Senior Partner


Khalifa City, Abu Dhabi, UAE


12,400 m2


2022 — 2023


Abu Dhabi Department of Municipalities and Transport


Lead Design Landscape Architect

Partners & Collaborators

Parsons, Nulty+, and Endpoint.

fig. 1 The Puple Sunbird is one of the many birds living in Mashtal Plaza
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In Mashtal Plaza, we collected several culturally important plants with a millennium-long history of usage. We brought together a diverse collection, including mint, jujube, pomegranate, and the characteristic henna tree, as a part of our nature-based design.

Mashtal Plaza, a sustainable community hub, brims with life. Dragonflies, sunbirds, and bees thrive alongside sports, play, and social activities. With our nature-based design, the park has become the neighborhood’s natural vibrant green gathering point.

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Building on years of ecological research into Abu Dhabi’s plants and biodiversity, SLA has designed Mashtal Plaza as one of six major parks in Khalifa City. The parks contain more than 6.700 trees and bushes, comprised of 40 different native plant species. All are specifically chosen to minimize irrigation, strengthen biodiversity, and maximize natural cooling for the well-being of the park’s many human and non–human visitors. SLA’s biodiversity study identifies 40 plant species, 55 bird species, 56 insect species, three mammal species, and four reptile species likely to inhabit the new parks.

Using our nature-based design, SLA has created sustainable and healthy community parks that promote an active lifestyle for the local communities. Inspired by the local traditions and with the use of native flora and fauna, we have turned the barren city blocks of sand into green, sustainable, and social community parks for the inhabitants of Khalifa City.

In April 2023, Khalifa Six City Parks was awarded the prestigious Monocle Design Award in the category of Best Urban Park.


fig. 5 Mashtal Plaza - before
fig. 6 Mashtal Plaza - now