World Expo 2020: Dubai plans for 25m visitors

DUBAI: Officials in the Emirate of Dubai are going through every detail imaginable to pave the way for the smoothest possible hosting of the international event the World Expo 2020 in six years’ time with the influx of 25 million visitors, and what measures they are taking to ensure that the city is an efficient and sustainable one, according to an official at the Planning Research Section, Planning Department at Dubai Municipality, speaking to Gulf News in an interview.

Najeeb Mohammad Saleh, Head of Planning Research Section, said, “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.”

In 2010, the Dubai Executive Council appointed a steering committee made up of Dubai Municipality, the Roads and Transport Authority, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority, Dubai Civil Aviation, Lands Department, and Dubai Maritime City. These six government entities have since been responsible for planning, implementing and supervising the master plan for Dubai 2020.

The committee, Saleh explained, 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. In 2010, Dubai recorded 1.9 million residents and by the end of 2013 this had reached 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 by 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,” said Saleh.

Some of the projects already under way include Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Solar Park, Dubai Canal Project, Mohammad Bin Rashid City, and the main venue for Expo 2020 located next to Dubai World Central.

The city’s urban planning also involves evaluating the amount of office and retail space needed by 2020. There were 5.1 million square metres of existing office space in 2010, and the demand for 2020 is expected to add an additional 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.

SOURCE: WAM