Dubai spectacularly closed its doors after six months of welcoming the world to the international event, a first for an Arab country. Unlike a number of previous World Expo sites, the spirit and legacy will continue to live on, as the former exhibition area transitions into a city of the future.
Expo City Dubai
What exactly is Expo City Dubai? Chief Development and Delivery Officer, Ahmed Al Khatib explains the concept,
"It's a combination of education, entertainment, a new way of working, work experience, and just not to mention like the amount of demand on organisations to come and move here is extremely good. A lot of people are coming here actually to dovetail with the vision and with what we are trying to achieve. Between now and the end of the year all the pavilions should be open, of course, the content will be different."
What Expo City can offer
Many of the pavilions will stay and be repurposed with a variety of ideas and development from cultural centres and universities to consulates and restaurants. Expo officials are studying each proposal carefully to align with the city's vision. The sustainable human-centric city will cover 1083 acres. 80% of the site will be reused. Visitors and residents will enjoy ten kilometres of cycle tracks, a 5k jogging track and 45,000 square metres of gardens and parks. When open to the public, visitors will enjoy previous attractions such as the Terra and Alif Pavilions, the Surreal Water Feature, Garden in the Sky, F&B Options and the site's only hotel.
Paul Bridger is the Chief Operating Officer for Rove Hotels and speaks about the impact of the Expo event and what will happen moving forward.
"The Expo event itself was such a huge thing for this part of the world that with the 80% of the real estate remaining as we move forward from October onwards, I think you can still live that event but also see it evolve. And I think people were very much attached to this district during the Expo event. This hotel was just phenomenally busy. Since then, it's been a bit quieter. We've welcomed a lot of people that have come over the summer just to see the area and to see what's happening. And I think come October, we're really looking forward to seeing the attractions reopen. The destination reopened and a lot of the start-ups and anchor tenants come into the area."
The Exhibition Centre will continue to operate here at Expo City Dubai and host global events such as COP 28 in 2023. Also, a whole host of Fortune 500 companies, as well as local firms are working towards opening their offices here, along with the likes of DP World and Siemens.
A smart city
The business community will enjoy a specially curated ecosystem boasting 5G and IoT technologies, as explained by Dr Ling Shao, Chief Scientist of Terminus Group, and President of Terminus International.
"Expo City is going to be a smart city, right? So it's like a major playground for different A.I.-related technologies, including computer vision, natural language processing, machine learning and human-computer interaction. All these technologies can be used in a smart city scenario. That's why a lot of highly advanced technological companies are going to be based at the Expo City to collaborate with the Expo City and contribute to the development."
First fifteen-minute city
Those who choose to make Expo Village their home will get to live and work in the UAE's first 15-minute city, with neighbourhoods linked by pedestrian walkways and autonomous vehicle routes.
Rebecca Elyse Roffe is a Real Estate Sales Consultant with Better Homes and she says they have had enquiries for homes from all nationalities and people from all walks of life.
"So Expo City is located in Dubai South, which is the newest city that's being built in as part of Dubai. Dubai South will be an area larger than Hong Kong when it's completed. Dubai residents are always early adopters and always very excited by new ideas and concepts. So this idea of the 15-minute city is the first of its kind in the UAE. So we've already had lots of people very interested to know more. We've really seen enquiries from people across all nationalities, from all different walks of life. Local Emiratis who have been born here and lived here all their lives are still interested in living in the 15-minute city. People who are moving to the UAE for the first time and maybe never lived outside the country are interested. People are really excited by the idea that 90% of their daily tasks they can complete within 15 minutes with a little walk or a cycle ride from their homes."
As the magic of Expo 2020, Dubai and its impactful legacy lives on, many are looking forward to its huge potential as a city of the future, and in turn, benefiting generations for years to come.