Khalifa City Community Parks win 2023 Monocle Design Award

We are proud to share that our six Community Parks in the Khalifa City neighborhood of Abu Dhabi, have won the prestigious 2023 Monocle Design Award in the category Best Urban Park.

Using only native trees and plants, the parks have turned previously empty sand sites into new social, climate-adapted, biodiverse, and active places for the local population.

The six nature-based parks, that have been collectively granted the award, are called Ranim Garden, Mashtal Plaza, Afnan Garden, Himma Park, Sadim Park, and Tilal Park.

“SLA’s latest project in the United Arab Emirates shows that no magic tricks are needed to conjure sustainable greenery in a desert. Across six city-block-sized lots, where there was previously only sand, SLA planted 40 different native plant species, such as acacia trees, which will stay verdant with little irrigation.”

— From Monocle's motivation
Ranim Garden
Ranim Garden
Sadim Park — before
Sadim Park — now

Slotted within the neighborhood’s existing network of pathways, the parks are squarely meant to serve the community: where children previously had to pile into a car to go to a playground, locals are now surrounded by green spaces with hammocks, soccer pitches, badminton, basketball, and padel courts.

All six parks are designed to have their own distinct identities and characteristics devised from the local community, climate, and context. Building upon years of ecological research in Abu Dhabi’s plants and biodiversity, the parks bring new life to the entire Khalifa-city neighborhood — for people, wildlife, and plants alike. SLA has designed the parks to contain more than 6,700 trees and bushes, made up 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 visitors.

“The parks represent a new way of creating livable and social neighborhoods in Abu Dhabi. By focusing on the local nature and getting a deep understanding of the specific context, we have created six distinctive and highly inclusive parks that celebrate the public life, social culture, and history of Abu Dhabi.”

— Rasmus Astrup, Design Principal and Partner in SLA.
Tilal Park
Ranim Garden

A big congratulations to our client, the Abu Dhabi Department of Municipalities and Transport, and collaborators Parsons, Endpoint, and Nulty+.

The six neighborhood parks are the latest among several nature-based park projects SLA has completed in Abu Dhabi. Previous projects include Al Fay Park – the Middle East’s first urban biodiversity park and recipient of the 2021 WAF World Landscape of the Year Award.

Contact us to know more

Cecilie Overgaard Rasmussen

Communications Officer


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