District 2020
District 2020 is the first community in the region to be registered under the WELL Community Standard pilot – a district scale rating system that sets a benchmark for healthy communities. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: The future site of Expo 2020 Dubai will place people at the heart of its master plan, ensuring District 2020 is a human-centric living and working space. It is the first community in the region to be registered under the WELL Community Standard pilot – a district scale rating system that sets a benchmark for healthy communities.

Some of the conveniences that mark wellness in the master plan are pedestrian-friendly infrastructure, parks, healthy food and beverage options, low-rise buildings, a low-carbon-emission environment and much more, all executed with sustainability in mind.

What makes a community WELL-certified?

District 2020 aims to meet WELL standards in the following areas: air, water, nourishment, light, movement, thermal comfort, materials, mind and community. Image Credit: Supplied

Developed by the International WELL Building Institute (IWBI), the WELL Community Standard rubric recognises communities that prioritise ten concepts for the health and wellbeing of all inhabitants:

  1. Air: good ambient air quality through reduction in traffic pollution and emissions
  2. Water: provision of clean drinking water and sanitation of public water bodies
  3. Nourishment: access to fruit and vegetable and support food affordability at retail outlets with healthier food and beverage choices
  4. Light: limit light pollution with sufficient visibility on roads and pathways to promote community engagement
  5. Movement: ensure walkability and cyclist infrastructure to promote physical activity, encourage public transport use and integrate pet-friendly public spaces
  6. Thermal comfort: maintain optimal temperatures through policies, plan for extreme weather and build urban green and water spaces
  7. Sound: careful planning for acoustics, reduce noise levels with strategies to protect hearing health
  8. Materials: incorporate waste management systems and advocate for chemical safety
  9. Mind: access to mental health care support, children playgrounds, water and green and scenic spaces
  10. Community: feature communal and social spaces, provide access to primary health care and educational opportunities, promote digital connectivity and house affordability
Human-scale neighbourhoods and commercial areas that will spark social engagement and creative conversations is just one of the ways District 2020 is planning to secure the WELL Community certification. Image Credit: Supplied

How District 2020 plans to meet wellness standard

Following registration, the smart city will undergo a series of tests and validation procedures by the Green Business Certification Inc. (GBCI) on behalf of the IWBI.

The third-party certification body will assess the wellness features in place before officially certifying the smart ecosystem, Expo’s lasting legacy, a WELL Community.

Take a look at the planned amenities and facilities that the urban community has to offer its workers and residents:

  • 10km of dedicated cycling tracks
  • 5km of dedicated jogging tracks
  • 45,000 square metres of parks and gardens
  • Pedestrian walkways sprawled across the entire site
  • Healthy food and beverage options
  • Social and cultural attractions including Expo 2020’s Al Wasl Plaza and Terra (The Sustainability Pavilion)
  • Low-rise buildings including those that are Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certified - sustainable Expo 2020 Dubai structures that will transition into residential and commercial neighbourhoods

Going forward, District 2020 aims to become a blueprint for all the future smart cities in planning, offering a benchmark that ensures a holistic and balanced lifestyle for community members.

When Expo 2020 Dubai closes its doors on March 31, 2022, the smart urban community will welcome tenants, workers and residents from October 2022 onward.

- The writer is an intern with Gulf News.