Abu Dhabi: Abu Dhabi's Capital District project will be a showpiece of the city's economic transformation, creating 150,000 jobs, a huge amount of office space and thousands of residential units.

The district, currently known as Khalifa City C and located close to Abu Dhabi International Airport, 30 kilometres away from Abu Dhabi's city centre, will accommodate up to 350,000 residents across an area of 4,900 hectares.

Apart from being an economic hub, it will also be an educational and cultural centre with diverse university campuses, including that of Zayed University.

Saood Al Junaibi, director of development review and urban design at the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (ADUPC), said Abu Dhabi will grow into a major city through its economic and demographic growth.

"Abu Dhabi will be a contemporary expression of an Arab city, which has people living and thriving in proximity to each other. The capital city will continue to practice measured growth reflecting a sustainable economy, rather than an uncontrolled growth," Al Junaibi said.

The council is working to accommodate 1.3 million residents by 2013 in the capital city compared with the current population of 900,000.

ADUPC was assigned in 2007 to carry out a physical planning structure for the emirate of Abu Dhabi by 2030 taking into account elements such as sustainability, infrastructure capacity, community planning and quality of life. According to projections published in an ADUPC report, the capital city will see 3.3 million annual tourists by 2013.

By 2020 it will have two million residents, 4.9 million annual tourists and 411,000 residential units.

The number of residents will grow to 3.1 million and residential units to 686, 000 by 2030. The capital is expected to receive 7.9 million annual tourists by then.

The UAE capital has embarked on a number of industrial, real estate and tourism projects as part of its economically-diversification drive.

According to a 2009 report published by the Abu Dhabi Airports Company (ADAC), office and retail space is predicted to rise by 78 per cent with large-scale projects currently under construction.

These projects include Saadiyat Island, an offshore development currently valued at $22 billion (Dh80.8 billion) and will include 19 kilometres of beachfront, 29 hotels, three marinas, 8,000 residential villas and more than 38,000 apartments. Several projects are targeted for completion by the end of this year. These include the Abu Dhabi National Exhibition Centre which will feature hotels, serviced apartments, 17 office towers, a marina development and retail zone.

The Masdar City project, budgeted at $22 billion, will be the first zero-carbon, zero-waste city that will include university, commercial, residential and eco-friendly industrial areas that will depend on solar energy. The $39 billion mixed-use tourist development area known as Yas Island will include residential areas, hotels, beaches, marinas, retail parks, golf courses and equestrian facilities.

The $7.8 billion Al Reem Island will be developed into a destination for business, tourism, hospitals, schools and hotels.

The $1-billion Central Market Redevelopment, a fully integrated mixed-use scheme at the heart of Abu Dhabi, will comprise of apartments, an Arabian souq, branded retail outlets, food outlets and restaurants, office space, hotels, and parking for 5,000 cars.