Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates, continues to change at a rapid pace in response to city branding efforts. Significant investments in the city’s urban infrastructure and its built environment are widespread, as Abu Dhabi attempts to compete on the world stage and lure in tourists, corporations, and investors alike. City planners have been busy updating the city’s urban spaces and streetscapes. They have been transforming it into a sleek and modern contemporary Arab city with a ‘high-end’ feel – which has been successful thus far. As a result, Abu Dhabi’s name has become synonymous with luxury, and the city’s overall quality, livability, and resilience have improved significantly. At the other end of the spectrum, the lower-income segments of the society appear to be missing from the urban planning effort. Some of the urban upgrading interventions might be unintentionally taking away some of the vibrant and diverse aspects of informal street life. This is especially true in some areas, where monotonous and sterile newer environments and streetscapes are replacing the older, informal environments, mostly inhabited by lower-income workers. This paper takes a closer look at some of these older spaces and streetscapes in Abu Dhabi. Through a case study, it attempts to shed some light on some of these vibrant areas, which could potentially vanish soon. It also attempts to highlight the energetic nature of these streetscapes and bring this to the attention of city planners. The paper argues that valuable lessons could be learned from these informal spaces and that these lessons could contribute positively to future planning efforts in the city.