DUBAI: Under the aegis of the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation (MBRF), a group of high-profile experts in research and development (R&D) announced the ‘Cities for Knowledge Creation’ initiative, in collaboration with global assurance, tax, and consulting services provider PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), on day two of the sixth annual Knowledge Summit taking place in Dubai.

The experts selected Dubai as the City of Knowledge for the 2020 edition of the initiative, where one city will be named every year at the Knowledge Summit in Dubai.

Laurent Probst, Partner at PwC - Luxembourg and Global Network Leader of the Regional Innovation Ecosystem, said: “Dubai is an international city, and given the prominent initiatives the emirate implements in an effort to create knowledge, we launched this initiative in collaboration with the Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum Knowledge Foundation, as well as our public and private-sector partners.”

“Guided by the vision of His Highness Shaikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE, Ruler of Dubai, the emirate is working to develop knowledge and achieve the Sustainable Development Goals,” Probst added, calling on other countries to also put further focus and resources on knowledge.

Prof. Laurent Probst underlined the importance of the Knowledge Summit as a platform for discussing pressing knowledge-related issues, and focusing on elements such as innovation, sustainable development, eradicating poverty, and upskilling People of Determination. In 2020, Dubai will be the centre of the world’s attention as it hosts the Expo 2020, he asserted.

Probst drew attention to the initiatives being launched from Dubai, such as the Global Knowledge Index, the Future of Knowledge: A Foresight Report, and the Mohammed bin Rashid University for Knowledge and Sustainable Development, which was announced on day one of the Knowledge Summit 2019.


Vertical cities urged to survive rising sea levels

Dubai: Vertical cities made of self-sustainable towers on water can be one way of surviving a catastrophic rise in seas level, Italian architect Luca Curci told the Knowledge Summit in Dubai.

According to a NASA report, sea levels will rise by four feet by the year 2021, which means humankind needs to adapt and look for alternative ways of living. It has also been reported that 90 per cent of the world’s largest cities including Miami, Shanghai, and Alexandria, among others, are threatened by rising sea levels.

Curci presented the concept of integrated, self-sustainable towers on water at the summit.

“We are three times the sustainable number of people on earth and in about 12 years, there will be 2 billion more people, but our cities not ready for that. We propose a vertical city built on water, which can house 25,000 people. The city will have a zero-waste policy and use renewable resources such as solar panels, wind and water turbines to produce energy. The city also includes integrated food production and farming, thereby offering a healthier lifestyle connected with elements of nature,” Curci said.

His vertical cities are a modular interpretation of the idea of contemporary cities that have no suburbs. He aims to make them affordable where farming is integrated with social space, enabling communities to produce their own food. He also proposes such living will alleviate poverty and create smart and efficient living spaces.

“Unlike modern-day skyscrapers, these towers will be completely ventilated by integrating a lot of natural elements such as wind, light and water. These are not like apartments or duplexes but more like villas at different levels. The vertical city will be connected with other cities by water, land and air.”

Curci emphasised on making cities more suitable for human interactions, which is a key element of the vertical city design.

“The urban sprawl has created many problems; traffic and pollution are some of the issues city-dwellers face on a daily basis. Vertical cities eliminate such issues and create solutions that help us thrive,” he said.

This year’s summit was held under the slogan ‘Knowledge for Sustainable Development’.