The Kingdom of Bahrain, an island state of around 800 km2, has enjoyed economic prosperity since the 1930s due to its natural abundance of oil and gas. However, today, oil resources are declining and the prospect of them drying up means the country must restructure its economy. Besides, third most densely populated sovereign state with a density of more than 1,700 inhabitants/km2, Bahrain faces a difficult demographic equation. The urban sprawl it entails may indeed lead to irremediable consequences if nothing changes – disappearance of arable land, desertification, creation of embankments and artificial islands without any overall plan thus damaging Bahrain’s marine life, etc. – and poses a threat to Bahrain’s identity.

 

So as not to suffer but rather embrace the economic and demographic changes to be expected in the near future, the Bahraini Government adopted a framework document, Bahrain Economic Vision 2030. To implement this policy, his Majesty the King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa, King of Bahrain, during his visit to the President of the Republic of France, on August 28th, 2014,expressed his willingness to work with France on urban planning issues. The economic and the demographic challenges are indeed closely intertwined when it comes to considering urban policy.

 

Discussed in 2014 at the highest political and governmental levels, the contract was effectively signed on January 21st, 2016 in Manama, concretely defining the strategic partnership between France and Bahrain – the Bahrain French Town Planning Initiative (BFTPI).

BFTPI brings together a multidisciplinary team within a public-private consortium leaded by Expertise France and associating the engineering and architecture companies Arep Ville, Egis International and Setec Organisation. The objective of the mission awarded to BFTPI is to assist the Urban Planning and Development Authority (UPDA – former General Directorate of Urban Planning) in a dual approach of governance and planning: organising resources and governance tools, and providing support in the definition and implementation of the territorial policy.

 

Thus, BFTPI design phase (first phase of BFTPI) included five complementary work streams:

  • 1- Drafting of a need-based national spatial development strategy: the National Land Policy – Strategic Plan (NLP-SP);
  • 2- Elaboration of urban design guidelines, stemming from the strategy;
  • 3- Design of a concept masterplan for a portion of the Manama – Muharraq waterfront, a highly strategic area of the island;
  • 4- Restructuring of the General Directorate for Urban Planning (GDUP) – now UPDA – including institutional strengthening and capacity reinforcement (especially through the digitisation of processes);
  • 5- Update of the Land Use Transportation Model (LUTM), to support the National Land Policy development scenarios.

Elaborate a reference document providing a comprehensive and stable vision of Bahrain's long-term territorial development

Deploy the tools and measures necessary to the proper set-up of the Strategic Plan

Produce a high visible exemplary showcase

Create a tool to improve transport policies in the Kingdom

Reorganise and increase the competency of the Urban Planning and Development Authority

Added value of BFTPI project :

BFTPI is a unique project in 5 aspects:

  • – The creation of a tailor-made multidisciplinary team of more than 70 experts within a public-private consortium, assembling French public and private expertise and know-how, that was imagined for a long-term cooperation.
  • – The dimension of the project: BFTPI is a nation-wide project, which encompasses transversal and multi-sectoral issues of urban planning, urban design, mobility, environmental protection, heritage conservation, utilities development.
  • – The integrated approach to urban development: The project is organised around two dimensions of work that are being conducted in parallel: governance and planning, thus including theory –   and practice, macro and micro.
  • – The capacity-building dimension of the project: Key to BFTPI’s approach is its permanent presence in Bahrain, in the UPDA’s offices. Ensuring a close cooperation with the client, a thorough understanding of his needs and aspirations, as well as the challenges he faces, it enables the development of bespoke proposals.
  • – The inclusive approach of the project: The project is characterised by a continuous dialogue with the UPDA and other stakeholders, ensured through a wide concertation of the different actors  – ministers and developers – with task team meetings and workshops.

Strategic Plan (National Land Policy)

Elaborate a reference document providing a comprehensive and stable vision of Bahrain's long-term territorial development

Urban Design Guidelines (National Land Policy)

Deploy the tools and measures necessary to the proper set-up of the Strategic Plan

Concept master plan on the waterfront

Produce a high visible exemplary showcase

Land Use Transportation Model

Create a tool to improve transport policies in the Kingdom

Restructuration of the Urban Plannong and Development Authority (UDPA)- ex GDPU

Reorganise and increase the competency of the Urban Planning and Development Authority

Added value of BFTPI project :

BFTPI is a unique project in 5 aspects:

  • – The creation of a tailor-made multidisciplinary team of more than 70 experts within a public-private consortium, assembling French public and private expertise and know-how, that was imagined for a long-term cooperation.
  • – The dimension of the project: BFTPI is a nation-wide project, which encompasses transversal and multi-sectoral issues of urban planning, urban design, mobility, environmental protection, heritage conservation, utilities development.
  • – The integrated approach to urban development: The project is organised around two dimensions of work that are being conducted in parallel: governance and planning, thus including theory –   and practice, macro and micro.
  • – The capacity-building dimension of the project: Key to BFTPI’s approach is its permanent presence in Bahrain, in the UPDA’s offices. Ensuring a close cooperation with the client, a thorough understanding of his needs and aspirations, as well as the challenges he faces, it enables the development of bespoke proposals.
  • – The inclusive approach of the project: The project is characterised by a continuous dialogue with the UPDA and other stakeholders, ensured through a wide concertation of the different actors  – ministers and developers – with task team meetings and workshops.