With its outstanding landscape and wealth of cultural and heritage assets, Bahrain’s waterfront is both the island’s maritime front and the showcase for its historical and modern identity. However, today it is suffering from a dual paradox:

  • water-based urban development, the craze for “sea views” and the building of modern roads have cut the country off from its natural coastal front, thus hiding the shoreline that symbolises the island;
  • the sudden halting of building projects has led to the appearance of numerous pieces of derelict land that downgrade the waterfront site.

Therefore, Bahrain entrusted to BFTPI the support of a concrete pilot project by drafting the comprehensive plan for the coastal area of Manama-Muharraq – a 46-kilometre strip of land that concentrates the Kingdom’s challenges. The objective is to turn the waterfront development into the pivotal point of a new sustainable urban strategy and a showcase for the development of Bahrain.


A masterplan is a concept plan setting out:

  • key development objectives (public use and accessibility, reconnecting with the sea);
  • planning guiding principles (continuity of public space, accessibility and connectivity, attractiveness, landscaping);
  • outlines of segments of the project area where a specific programming and design approach will apply;
  • a shared guiding and reference document for all stakeholders involved in implementing the masterplan in the area.

Thus, the Manama-Muharraq Concept Masterplan exemplifies the Strategic Plan directions for urban development, directly applies the Guidelines and tests the new role of the Urban Planning and Development Authority (UPDA) for project delivery. The layout plan helps highlighting the key assets of the country: conservation of cultural heritage, protection of the green lands, simplified access for pedestrian and promotion of the waterfront.

Main achievements:

– Production of a comprehensive masterplan for the Manama-Muharraq waterfront including:

  • Diagnosis (Urban and landscape; Socio-economic & Mega-projects) and related programming study;
  • Development opportunities on the 46 km long area (real estate, public spaces, venues, green areas, etc.);
  • Zoom in key areas with axonometries and 3D rendering;
  • First implementation steps with a phased cost estimate.

– The Manama-Muharraq concept masterplan was approved by the High Comittee of Urban Planning on 15 March 2018.

Pilot project exemplifying best urban design practice

Concept Masterplan in the heart of Manama