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The UAE’s unified address problem to be addressed

Lost in the UAE?

According to Abu Dhabi's Department of Municipal Affairs, the process will take a staggering 30 months and will include 'building numbers, street names, city name, the emirate, the assigned postal code and the country'.


February 12, 2013 10:51 by

Rubbing your forehead in frustration as you helplessly attempt to direct someone to your house or office in the UAE may soon be a ‘thing of the past’. The days where you dreaded being asked whether you’re in close proximity to a popular landmark and you having to look out for an awkwardly-shaped tree or a supermarket with a catchy name may be numbered. Exciting eh?

Well, judging by the voices of the social, this news has brought more relief than actual excitement. After all, considering we live in a country predominantly populated by expatriates (that line should really be made into mass-produced posters), the expectation of having a unified address system is almost a given. In fact, it can be initially difficult to digest that a country that boasts so many practical world records like the longest driverless metro, world’s biggest mall, fountain and the world’s tallest building (yes, we know we’re focusing on Dubai) have yet to address the unified address problem.

According to the DMA, the process will take a staggering 30 months and will include ‘building numbers, street names, city name, the emirate, the assigned postal code and the country’. Dr Abdullah Al Beloushi, executive director of land and property management at the department told Gulf News that ‘the absence of a unified address system has previously made it difficult to locate places’. Yes, thank you. And the previous absence of the wheel made it difficult to transport things around.

“This older system, mainly used by engineers and utility companies, required people to know and remember various city districts. Moreover, many streets were only numbered, and so streets in different districts had the same number. The addresses were too complicated for ordinary people, especially tourists,” Dr Beloushi said.

Call Kipp negative if you must, but we can’t help but be slightly unimpressed by this development. We’re no experts on road infrastructure or what exactly goes into creating and maintaining such thorough address system – and we realise it’s complicated. What we also realise is that both time and money have been graciously spent on certain areas of the country (I won’t quote the cliches again but we all know them) and so little on other areas; almost like each department or authority has different levels of ambition. That’s how you end up with an emirate that is immensely advanced in certain areas and unequivocally primitive in others.


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