Sheikh Mohammed launches new Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan that maps out sustainable development in the city

With its population set to jump to 5.8 million by 2040 from just 3.3 million in 2020, Dubai on Saturday laid down the groundwork for how the city can grow sustainably over the next 20 years.

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, has launched the Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan that maps out a comprehensive future map for sustainable urban development in the city.

The master plan focuses on using available spaces within the limits of the current city and concentrating development in existing urban areas.

Under the plan, the land area used for hotels and tourist activities will increase by 134 percent, while the land used for commercial activities will increase to 168 square kilometres.

While Dubai will continue to be a global hub for innovative start-ups, international corporations, and strategic investments, the master plan will also increase the land area allocated to education and health facilities by 25 percent, while the length of public beaches will increase by as much as 400 percent in 2040.

Easily accessible integrated service centres will be established across Dubai while the plan also seeks to raise the quality of life of the city while increasing population densities around key mass transit stations.

The people-centric plan focuses on reinforcing Dubai’s competitiveness as a global destination by providing a wide diversity of lifestyle and investment opportunities for citizens, residents and visitors over the next 20 years.

In a statement, Sheikh Mohammed said the visionary development journey started by the late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum in the sixties continues to guide Dubai’s evolution.

“Our strategic development plans are focused on creating the best possible environment and infrastructure to enhance the community’s happiness and wellbeing and support the fulfilment of the greatest human aspirations for both our citizens and people from around the world,” he said.

“Drawing inspiration from global best practices and adapting them to local needs and requirements, we have created a development model that offers the best possible quality of life and creates the conditions for sustainable prosperity. Our goal is to create a truly inclusive environment that not only meets the needs of Dubai’s diverse population, but also inspires them to tap into their creative and innovative capacities and realise their true potential,” he added.

“With a clear vision and a deep understanding of what it takes to succeed in an evolving global environment, we continue to work to shape an even greater future rich with opportunities,” Sheikh Mohammed said.

The new master plan is the seventh developed for the emirate since 1960. Between 1960 and 2020, the population of Dubai has multiplied 80 times from 40,000 in 1960 to 3.3 million by the end of 2020 and increased in cultural diversity to include people from over 200 nationalities.

The urban and built area of the emirate increased 170-fold from 3.2 sq km in the same period.

The plan envisages upgrading Dubai’s urban areas, with development mainly focused on five key centres.

Some of the key priorities include improving the efficiency of resource utilisation, developing vibrant, healthy and inclusive communities, and doubling green and leisure areas as well as public parks to provide a healthy environment for residents and visitors.

It also seeks to provide sustainable and flexible means of mobility as well a foster greater economic activity and attract foreign investments to new sectors.

Other objectives include enhancing environmental sustainability, safeguarding the emirate’s cultural and urban heritage and developing a comprehensive legislation and planning governance model.

The Dubai Urban Master Plan is focused on development and investment in five main urban centres – three existing and two new centres that support growth of economic sectors and increased job opportunities for its diverse population, in addition to providing a wide range of lifestyle facilities.

The existing urban centres include Deira and Bur Dubai, historic areas that highlight the emirate’s tradition and heritage, the business and financial heart of the city encompassing Downtown and Business Bay, and the hospitality and leisure centre encompassing the Dubai Marina and JBR that serves as an international tourism and leisure hub.

The two new centres include Expo 2020 Centre, an economic and growth hotspot featuring affordable housing and a focal point for the exhibitions, tourism and logistics sectors and Dubai Silicon Oasis Centre, a science and technology and knowledge hub that drives innovation, digital economy development and talent generation.

Under the plan, green and recreational spaces and areas dedicated to public parks will double in size to serve the growing number of number of residents and visitors.

Nature reserves and rural natural areas will constitute 60 percent of the emirate’s total area. Several green corridors will be established to link the service areas, residential areas and workplaces, facilitate the movement of pedestrians, bicycles, and sustainable mobility means across the city, in coordination with developers and government departments.

The statement also said Dubai will also issue an integrated and flexible urban planning law that supports sustainable development and growth, taking into consideration the future aspirations of the emirate’s diverse population.

The master plan also aims to encourage mass transit use, walking, cycling and the use of flexible means of transportation, besides developing a comprehensive planning database to support decision-making and enhance transparency.

Senior Dubai officials have their say on the plan

High ranking officials in Dubai said the Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan is inspired by Sheikh Mohammed’s vision for sustainable development and his keenness to transform the city into the world’s best lifestyle, leisure, tourism and investment destination.

Abdullah Al Basti, secretary-general of The Executive Council of Dubai said: “Dubai’s ambitious vision for development strikes a balance between growth and sustainability as part of efforts to make it an integrated smart city that serves the needs of its people… The new master plan, which contributes to strengthening the foundations of sustainable development and ushering in a glorious future, is one of the cornerstones of Dubai’s plan to enhance the happiness of its people and boost social, environmental and economic wellbeing. The master plan integrates world-leading smart urban planning standards and design principles to support the ultimate goal of making Dubai a global leader across sectors.”

Saeed Mohammed Al Tayer, managing director and CEO of Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), said: “All key stakeholders have participated in developing the plan that implements global urban planning and infrastructure best practices adapted to the Emirate’s unique requirements and characteristics. The new master plan will further raise Dubai’s position among the world’s leading cities by creating a new model for city planning and sustainable urban development… Going forward with Dubai Urban Master Plan 2040 implementation marks a new start for Dubai to always be the city of the future.”

Dawoud Al Hajri, director general of Dubai Municipality, said: “This comprehensive plan will turn the ideals of people-centered development into reality. We are keen to apply the principles of the new master plan and the values of sustainability, inclusiveness and competitiveness into our strategies, which will inspire us to convert challenges into opportunities and support Dubai’s transformation in urban, economic and environmental domains… The plan is set to make Dubai the world’s best place to live, work and visit and transform it into an advanced metropolis that has human well-being at the core of its development and growth agenda.”

Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, group chairman and CEO of DP World, said: “The plan will help raise the emirate’s growing role as a pivotal business and trade hub. It will also enhance Dubai’s attractiveness as an investment destination by leveraging its superior logistics infrastructure, including some of the world’s best ports and airports, and maximising its ability to harness the vast talent pool it has access to. The new master plan will help strengthen the emirate’s efforts to mitigate the repercussions of the Covid-19 pandemic, accelerate the pace of its economic recovery and prepare the ground for a bright new post-pandemic world.”

Sultan Butti bin Mejren, director general of Dubai Land Department, said: “The launch of the plan, which gives Dubai several advantages over other global cities, will have a positive impact on the emirate’s sustainable development and economic growth prospects. It will contribute both directly and indirectly to attracting greater foreign investment in all sectors, especially those related to advanced technologies… Launched at a time when countries around the globe are reviewing plans for recovering from the impact of Covid-19, the new master plan places Dubai in a position to contribute to regional and global efforts to rebuild economies and societies.”

Malek Al Malek, director general of Dubai Development Authority (DDA), said: “The emirate’s future-focused perspective pre-empts evolving requirements, enabling growth and cementing our economic and social achievements. With its dynamic knowledge-based economy and state-of-the-art infrastructure, Dubai offers an unmatched quality of life, making it one of the world’s best cities to live, work and visit. We are committed to strengthening this unique value proposition by implementing the best policies for urban development.”

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