The goal of reducing ecological footprint and increasing community well-being is a concern shared by community members representing about 65 nationalities at the Sustainable City in Dubai. Image Credit: Ahmed Ramzan

  • As the name suggests, The Sustainable City is one of the emirate’s popular eco-friendly communities.
  • Established in 2015, the community is the first zero-energy development in the UAE located off Al Qudra Road in Dubai.

Dubai: It’s a vibrant live-and-work space, with an eye for the future. And it’s right here, right now — a dream-turned-into-reality sort of story. 

It’s a poster community for residential planning, modern yet energy-efficient. Also friendly, magical and innovative, like Dubai itself. Each of the 500 villas within the 113-acre development is fitted with rooftop solar panels, so the community generates its own power.

That's just for starters.

Urban farm, 11 'bio-domes'

What adds to its distinction is this: each residential cluster has an urban farm — together forming a network of 11 “bio-domes” — connected to the rest of the community. These food-generators represent the central “spine” of the community, in what resembles a Martian terraform.

Moreover, every water fixture in all the villas and the 89 apartments in the development is fitted with low-flow gear that helps curb water use.

Sustainable City Drone shot
These "bio-domes" may not form a trial for terraforming Mars, but do serve as the central green “spine” of the Sustainable City community in Dubai.

The L-shaped villas are designed to maximise daylighting by orienting windows north while reducing solar heat gain.

In addition, the insulated UV reflective walls, roofs and windows reduce air-conditioning loads and power consumption. Parking areas, covered in photovoltaic cells, generate additional electricity. The community’s jogging and cycling tracks are made of recycled tires.

For its residents, The Sustainable City is a safe haven away from the bustle of the city. Among bankers, it has inspired “green mortgages” too.

Sustainability credentials

All told, the community’s green solutions help save roughly 8,000 tonnes of CO2e saved every year— equivalent to taking 853 cars off the road for a year.

sustainable city infographic-1672152881622

The goal of reducing ecological footprint and increasing community well-being is a concern shared by community members representing about 65 nationalities.

It’s a thriving home to thousands. With less incentive for car use, it’s remarkably green and quiet —but busy in its own distinct way.

100% occupancy 

The development, currently 100 per cent occupied, exudes an eco-lifestyle consciousness, and a close-knit community vibe.

“More than half of the residents have started using cars less since moving to the community,” said Marwa Nahlawi, Head of Urban Planning at Diamond Developers.

In a survey, each resident identified names of at least 15 neighbours — implying the community members took the effort to know each other.

Another 73 per cent of children in the community made new friends in the community, said Nahlawi.

The survey shows more than 70 per cent of owners are acutely conscious in their power and water consumption.

“Thirty per cent of the population living in the City are homeowners. Ten of these owners have turned business owners running their own shops (in the “Plaza”). Moreover, 56 per cent of the businesses in the plaza is owned by residents,” said Nahlawi.

Sustainable living, working in the City

Residents celebrate their eco-friendly lifestyle. Ukranian expat Natalia Gataullina, who live in a three-bedroom villa at The Sustainable City, said she was drawn to the community programme and decided to live there.

“We know our neighbours, do not have to take our cars out a lot. We live in a safe and secure environment. I could not ask for more.”

Vladimir Dunisijevic, a resident of a two-bedroom apartment in the TSC, said he has been living in the community for the last six years.

“At first, I stayed in a studio and then moved to a one bedroom apartment, now I am living in a two-bedroom apartment. I cannot imagine living anywhere else,” said Dunisijevic who has opened an eco-focussed gym in the community.

“I don’t need to get out of the community a lot. My work and home is all here in the community. This is a huge money-saver for me, as I don’t need to take my car out and spend on fuel a lot.”

The Sustainable City
A view of the Sustainable City community, off Al Qudra Road in Dubai. It has become a template for new communities now being developed in Sharjah and Abu Dhabi.

Running a sustainable business 

Karam Hamadeh, owner of a three-bedroom villa, has been living in the community for the past 7 years. Inspired by the idea of a sustainable community, he has taken his passion to the next level by setting up a small project called Cycology — which supplies bicycles, skateboards, accessories. It also offers a rental service, in addition to bicycle maintenance service.

“My neighbour decided to start this as we have been living in the city for long and felt the need to run a sustainable concept in place. Cycling is a need in the community as we all strive to be car-free.

“We designed this concept so our cycle owners did not have to leave our community to have their bicycles fixed. As residents, we want all members to stay within TSC as much as possible.”

Monofloral honey

Ala’a Mustafa, managing director and partner in “Myhive” honey shop, is another resident-entrepreneur at the Sustainable City.

“The community inspired the concept behind Myhive,” he explained, adding that the monofloral honey is taken directly from the beehives. “They’re collected by our honeybees from local areas and is 100 per cent natural.”

Mustafa said: “This sustainable lifestyle is a win-win for residents living a sustainable journey both at work and at home, located in the same place. You don’t hear much about this kind of lifestyle (elsewhere). So truly, we are living in a very rewarding community.”

Given the success of The Sustainable City concept in Dubai, Diamond Developers is replicating the eco-driven concept in Sharjah and Yas Island, in Abu Dhabi.

It is a mortgage specifically targeted at green buildings. As an incentive for the borrower to either buy a green building or to renovate an existing one to make it greener, a bank would offer them either a lower interest rate or an increased loan amount.

Sharjah Sustainable City

The Sharjah Sustainable City — with a total of 1,252 units — is 95 per cent complete, according to developers.

“The project’s phase one handover was completed in September. “Families are already living here. Phase 3 was launched in October, with phase 2 approaching completion and handover next year,” said Nahlawi.

In Abu Dhabi, construction of The Sustainable City YAS is expected to kick off soon. Diamond’s Al Nahlawi stated the project will be completed within 30 months following ground-breaking.

Facilities inside The Sustainable City-Dubai

Greenhouses: 11 “biodomes” 

Nursery: Creakids

School: Fairgreen International School

Autism & Rehabilitation Center: Sanad Village

Institute: SEE Institute (a net zero carbon building)

Holiday Homes: The Sustainable City Homes (51 short-stay apartments)

Knowledge Hub

Equestrian Club: 4-km horse track and a riding arena

Clinics: Chiron Clinic, Core Care

Plaza: Offices, apartments, supermarket, pharmacy, 8 restaurants, hair salon & spa, art and music center, gym, and others

Farm: Farming plots, animal sanctuary

Others: Cycling | jogging tracks | Dog Park | Gyms | Swimming pool | Playground


A corner unit with four-bedrooms, four baths, garden area has an asking a rent for Dh300,000 annually. Villas are equipped with energy-efficient AC, home appliances, and LED lighting to reduce electricity consumption.


Off Umm Suqeim Road, by the Dubai Studio City and next to Arabian Ranches 2

Bus route:

Dubai RTA buses route No. F32 (connects to Dubai Metro at (MOE station) & J02 (IMPZ via Ranches to Sports City)

Location map: