Ruler of Dubai launches 2040 Urban Master Plan

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These are the main highlights:

  • Five main urban areas will be developed
  • Spaces designated for educational and health facilities will increase by 25 per cent
  • Areas for hotels and tourism will be expanded by 134 per cent
  • Areas used for commercial, industrial and economic activities will increase to 168 square kilometres
  • Length of public beaches will increase by as much as 400 per cent
  • 60 per cent of Dubai to comprise of nature reserves and natural areas
  • 55 per cent of the population will live within 800 metres of a main public transport station


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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.