As Dubai prepares to host the World Expo 2020 international event within six years, it anticipates to receive and welcome close to 25 million visitors from around the world.
Officials are already setting the plan in motion. Foreseeing every possible detail in order to brace Dubai for this international event that is sure to make serious waves within the country itself and around the world.
Head of Planning Research Section, Planning Department at Dubai Municipality, Najeeb Mohammad Saleh discussed the groundwork that needs to be accomplished in order for the city’s infrastructure, residents, and incoming visitors to all co-exist seamlessly and what measures Dubai must take to ensure that the city manages to operate at a high level and is able to cater to national and international needs.
“When we started to prepare the plan, we first took into consideration how the city is going to grow and what its growth rate would be. We looked at three different scenarios – low, medium and rapid … We have adopted the medium-growth scenario, and expect the population by 2020 to be about 2.8 million,” said Saleh in an interview conducted by Gulf News.
In 2010, the Executive Council selected a steering committee comprised of Dubai Municipality, the Roads and Transport Authority, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, Dubai Civil Aviation, Lands Department, and Dubai Maritime City. These six governing bodies have since been tasked with planning, integrating, managing, and overseeing the master plan for World Expo 2020 Dubai.
The city’s future planning into the coming decade was set in motion prior to its submission of hosting the World Expo in 2020, which was mostly geared at appropriately dealing with the repercussions of the world economic crash in 2008 and, in turn, to amend the plan of Dubai.
“The committee, adopted the right approach as it expected a population growth rate of 4.2 per cent per year, which is close to the current rate at 4.1 per cent,” noted Saleh.
In 2010, Dubai recorded 1.9 million residents and by the end of 2013 the number had grown to reach 2.23 million.
“The existing urban area can reach up to 93,106 hectares, which we feel is sufficient for us. And, by 2020, we expect to grow an additional 25,000 hectares. But even if the rate of the growth is faster than we expect, with a maximum of 38,000 hectares, the capacity of the city and its urban area can still hold that,” he added.
In order to effectively prepare for any future endeavors and projects, the committee has suggested that any investment should not go beyond the border of Emirates Road (previously known as Bypass Road), due to their being sufficient infrastructure available within the city that can handle the capacity and population growth within the area.
“To know which direction the city would grow in, we adopted the scenario of a compact city, which has already been adopted and approved. So, all the upcoming projects, whether by the government or by property developers, will be within the city and should not exceed beyond Emirates Road,” said Saleh, who also noted that the preserved area for investment projects begin at Dubai’s shoreline.
Some projects have already commenced such as Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, Dubai Canal Project, Mohammad Bin Rashid City, and the main hosting venue for World Expo 2020 that is located right next to Dubai World Central.
The city’s urban planning also includes assessing the amount of office and retail space required by 2020. There were 5.1 million square metres of existing office space in 2010, and the demand for 2020 is expected to add another 1.8 million square metres. The total retail floor space in 2010 was 5.3 million square metres, and is expected to increase to 6.5 million square metres.