The American University in Dubai recently launched the Middle East Cities Center, whose mission is to conduct research and studies in the field of city sustainability from the economic, social and environmental aspects. In cooperation with international organizations, universities, governmental and local bodies, Dr. Mahmoud El-Burai, Assistant Professor of Management and Director of the MECC at AUD, has prepared an integrated work strategy focusing on the following:
The Center carried out the first study in collaboration with the University of Freiburg in Switzerland, and published on the Harvard University competitiveness platform, under the title “Smart Dubai Strategy.” This research was prepared by Dr. Philip Gogler, Head of the Competitiveness Center at the University of Freiberg, Switzerland, and Dr. Mahmoud El-Burai.
Dr. El-Burai explained that preparations are underway to hold an innovative workshop, in collaboration with the United Nations, on March 29, 2021 entitled "Towards more resilient and sustainable cities after Covid-19," in which the United Nations, the International Real Estate Federation and local and international strategic partners will participate.
He pointed out that the Center's future projects are to prepare professional training programs for the governmental and private sectors in the field of flexibility and work continuity, partnering with local government agencies and international organizations.
The Center also began to conduct research on the sustainability of clusters and cities after the decline of Covid-19, studying the competitiveness of the creative clusters and their impact on entrepreneurship and developing the infrastructure necessary for the growth of small and medium-sized companies. An additional focus is to conduct studies in the field of urban planning and the importance of public spaces in developing healthy cities for the future.
Dr. El-Burai added that an advisory council for the Center has been formed that includes a number of government officials at the federal and local level. Similarly, international academic experts and representatives of the private sector will oversee the strategy of the Center and implement joint projects with these bodies.