Security by Design in Abu Dhabi

By Hunter R. Burkall, PSP

A series of checklists and case studies was used to demonstrate the benefit, practical use, and breadth of applications associated with the SSPM. This includes a chapter dedicated to local case studies with unique dispositions, such as an existing luxury conference hotel, a new large-scale residential development, and the revitalization of an existing downtown community.


Because the SSPM was recently implemented, it is too early to evaluate its impact on crime rates. Nonetheless, the SSPM represents a significant triumph for the security industry and the Abu Dhabi government. For the first time in the emirate’s history, safety and security are permanent fixtures of an integrated planning and design process.  

Successfully communicating this message to the development community and receiving its endorsement will be the ultimate indicator of the SSPM’s success. The initial response has been positive, but the UPC is actively seeking feedback, working with the development community, and looking for ways to enhance and simplify the system and planning approval process.

Gone are the days where engineers and designers relied solely on off-the-shelf safety and security solutions. Developers now have the guidance and resources necessary to be successful in creating safe and secure communities. They just need to look at Qasr al-Hosn for inspiration.

Hunter R. Burkall, PSP, is associate director of security consulting for WSP in the Middle East. He was formerly a safety and security specialist for the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council. He is a member of ASIS International and serves on the ASIS Security Architecture and Engineering Council and the ASIS Supply Chain and Transportation Security Council.



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