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As the first resident to have moved in to Al Barari, Faruk Roked has watched it grow around him
Words by Anne Martin in Neighbourhoods · Mar 6th, 2014
It seems like forever in 'Dubai years' but it has been only three years since Faruk Roked and his family moved in to Al Barari. They were the first residents to do so, and the development was still very raw. "It was certainly quiet here when we first moved in," says Faruk, who moved to the UAE from Britain in early 2000." But, after living in Umm Suqeim for almost five years, it was lovely to come home to somewhere so peaceful. Being the first family here, we had the whole management team to ourselves - we got lots of attention!"
It was shortly after the Lehman brothers collapse and it was a worrying time, recalls Faruk. "Given what we were seeing in some other parts of Dubai, we wondered if the developer would keep its promises; the biggest worry was that it wouldn't be completed. I would come on site every week or so to see how things were going and was amazed to see that they actually doubled or tripled the work- force in 2009, rather than slowing down."
And the hard work certainly paid off, says Faruk. "There is nowhere else quite like this, where the green was planned first and then the houses arranged within it. This place looked so special on the plans and it has turned out to be even better in reality.
Al Barari is a delight all year round, he says - but in the six cooler months of the year the house and the whole neighbourhood really come into their own. "There are beautiful paths for walking, amazing bird life - I go running with a friend, who knows the names of all the different types. We don't see as many people out and about as i would have expected, though - which may be partly because there are relatively few villas in such a big space."
The Farm restaurant has become a favourite place to relax. "It has made a big difference to the area and has really taken off with the residents, which adds to the sense of community - we seem to have met more people since it opened than in the previous three years."
Part of Al Barari's appeal for Faruk and his family is that it feels very stable and settled: "It definitely makes a difference that, for most people here, this is their family home, not a place that they are passing through.
"Our children are now teenagers and I'm happy to say that they still love it here," he adds. "They could so easily have said it was boring, but they have everything they want in and around the house, as well as friends nearby. It is a very good place to raise a family - even if they do get a little spoilt with all of the things that make life in Dubai so easy."