2020 is a milestone year in many ways for the UAE – the biggest of which is hosting the Expo 2020 in Dubai.
In addition to this, the country’s leaders have planned a lot of things which would alter the landscape of the country in time for the 50th year of the Union in 2021 and beyond.
On the occasion of the 48th National Day, here are a few of the most anticipated developments for next couple of years.
What after The World Expo
Expo 2020 Dubai promises to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience – a global six-month celebration of creativity, innovation, humanity and world cultures.
192 nations are taking part in Expo 2020, and for the first time in World Expo history, every country will have its own pavilion. Expo 2020 will move away from traditional geographical clusters and band together countries facing similar challenges within the three subthemes of Opportunity, Mobility and Sustainability. In addition to the pavilions, visitors can enjoy more than 200 food and beverage outlets and 60 live events daily.
Expo 2020 will be open to the public for six months from October 20, 2020 to April 10, 2021
After April in 2021, more than 80 per cent of the Expo-built structures will be retained and repurposed for District 2020.
District 2020 will see the urbanisation of the Expo 2020 site into a smart and sustainable micro city-within-a-city that aims to provide an innovation-driven business ecosystem, while being a diverse and thriving urban community.
District 2020 is curating a diverse mix of tenants that include global corporations, SMEs, and startups, as well as enablers and social and educational platforms. Two of Expo’s Official Premier Partners, Accenture and Siemens, have already committed to establishing a permanent presence in District 2020. Siemens will establish its global headquarters for airports, cargo and ports logistics at the site, while Accenture will open a digital hub.
Global company Merck KGaA announced it will establish a Sustainability Centre, and Shanghai-based Atlas Capital Holding will create a world-leading blockchain campus at District 2020. Expo 2020’s Sustainability Pavilion will become a Children and Science Centre. Many other major structures, including Al Wasl Plaza and the Mobility Pavilion, will remain as permanent fixtures in District 2020.
Dubai Creek Tower - the new tallest tower
Trumping the best-known characteristic of one of the crowning jewels of the country – the Burj Khalifa – the Dubai Creek Tower is set to become the new, record-breaking, tallest building in the world.
Part of the Dubai Creek Harbour project, the observation tower has been designed by Santiago Calatrava and is expected to complete in 2020 in time for the Expo. The tower promises to feature a 360° observation deck featuring spectacular city views.
The designer’s website states, “Calatrava’s monumental design, chosen out of six proposals from competing firms, is influenced by the natural forms of the lily and evokes the shape of a minaret, a distinctive architectural feature in Islamic culture.”
Dubai Creek Harbour
A six square-kilometer development in Deira, this project will change the façade of one of Dubai’s oldest areas drastically. The Dubai Creek Tower will be the main attraction within this project but that’s not all.
The developer states that the Dubai Creek Harbour is set to be twice the size of Downtown Dubai, and will have a mega-mall ‘Dubai Square’ along with waterfront residences.
Mohammed Bin Rashid Library
Resembling an open book sitting on a rehl – a traditional lectern which holds the Quran – the Mohammed Bin Rashid Library is set to be an iconic structure worth global acclaim and is almost completed.
Spanning 66,000 square metres, when completed, the library will be the biggest library on the region and will feature over 4.5 million books. The structure is seven stories high and will also serve as a community hub with spaces for events or festivals and a 500-seat lecture theatre.
The Museum of the Future
A regular sight for motorists on the Sheikh Zayed Road, the design for Museum of the Future is an architectural marvel and a stunning ode to Arabic. A futuristic museum in concept, the project promises technological innovations and Artificial Intelligence ahead of our time for an immersive and interactive experience.
Jewel of the Creek
Located between Al Maktoum and Floating bridges, the Jewel of the Creek project sprawls over 125,675 square metres and includes hotels, residential towers and restaurants in addition to a man-made lake and a waterfront promenade and marina for 65 berths.
The project also includes the construction of a 81-metre footbridge over Baniyas Street – which will be completed in the first quarter of 2020.
RTA has already completed the construction of 1.4 kilometres of tunnels and seven 7 kilometres of roads leading to Jewel of the Creek
A futuristic sail-shaped oval-faced building, the project was launched by Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum in 2019. The building will bear, literally, the Dubai ruler’s fingerprint as its base.
Iconic in design the 550-metre building – with two cut halves joining in the middle – is expected to be completed in 2023.
Adding to the many entertainment avenues in the region, Action Park will add adventurous entertainment to the mix. With The Smash Room, Action Paintball park, the Middle East’s first Upside Down House and go-karting circuit, the park is unique in its offering.
For guests who want something a bit slower paced, they can take part in the target shooting area or enjoy refreshments on the roof of the open London style bus, that has been transformed into a café and overlooks the playing field.
Zayed National Museum
One of the most anticipated projects in the capital, Zayed National Museum is on track to open in 2021. A structure dedicated to Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan - the founder of the UAE - both in design and content, the museum will provide a greater understanding of the history, culture and geography of the UAE.
The museum's towers are shaped like falcon wings, designed as on ode to Sheikh Zayed's love of falconry.
In November, Department of Culture and Tourism – Abu Dhabi shared a short Twitter video to show the progress of the museum on Saadiyat Island.
The Guggenheim Abu Dhabi museum is “on track” and “on budget” to be open on Saadiyat Island by around 2022, media reports said in August. The Guggenheim Abu Dhabi collection will feature work by global artists, in a variety of mediums, produced since the turn of the 1960s.
Surrounded almost entirely by water, Guggenheim Abu Dhabi will have spectacular views of the Saadiyat Cultural District and the Arabian Gulf. Galleries, many unprecedented in scale, are distributed around the central atrium on four levels connected by glass bridges above.
Open to the elements, the museum cones housing contemporary art commissions, recall the region’s ancient wind-towers, which both ventilate and shade the exterior courtyards in a fitting blend of Arabian tradition and modern design. The museum will also feature a 350-seat theatre, education workshops and classrooms, an onsite conservation lab, as well as a retail store, cafes, and a restaurant.
Opening in 2019, CLYMB in Abu Dhabi houses the world’s biggest indoor-skydiving space and the world’s tallest indoor wall climbing installation.
Adding more accolades to UAE’s crown of world records, the venue promises an adventure-focused entertainment experience.
Heart of Sharjah
Touted as the region's biggest heritage project to date, the Heart of Sharjah seeks to reflect what Sharjah was like over half a century ago. The goal is seemingly simple, but ambitious – create a tourist and trade destination by revamping the city’s traditional areas to retain the feel of the 1950s.
Scheduled for completion in 2025, the first phase of which is completed, the site is just five minutes from the city's Corniche and 10 minutes from the Sharjah International Airport. Sharjah Investment and Development Authority (Shurooq) is overseeing the project and states in its website of Shurooq, “The Heart of Sharjah will be realised in accordance with international standards of sustainable development and environmental principles.”
Modern yet housed in old renovated structures, the project is aimed to be a conservatory for Sharjah’s national historical character and spans an area of 100,000 square-metres. The venue houses museums, souks and a hotel.
Sharjah Beach Development
Planned as a star attraction for the emirate, residents and visitors will soon get to enjoy a 3.3 kilometre stretch of beach development. The project stretches from the Ajman border to the roundabout adjacent to the Sharjah Ladies Club. A wide variety of amenities including public plazas, pedestrian paths, bike lanes, picnic places, seating areas, shading structures, public art areas and water features, will be spread out strategically along the entire route.
As with most new Sharjah developments, the unique design will include quality and sustainable hardscape materials, in addition to locally sourced plantings. Parking for 1,100 vehicles is also planned to be installed – making it a convenient and fun destination to visit.
Mleiha Archaeological and Eco-tourism Project
This UNESCO world heritage site is planned to become one of Sharjah’s premiere tourist destinations, due to its natural beauty, diversity of wildlife and its archaeological discoveries. The project is aimed to not only focus on Sharjah's cultural and archaeological history spanning thousands of years, but also to become the in-demand destination for campers, nature lovers and adventurers.
The second phase of Mleiha Archaeological and Eco-tourism Project will be complete by the end of 2020.
The Sharjah Collection
Focusing on creating memorable experiences for residents and tourists, Shurooq is also developing a collection of hotels that are grounded in nature with unique hospitality experiences. The total cost of the three luxury hospitality projects, Kingfisher Lodge in Kalba, Al Badayer Oasis in Al Badayer desert and Al Faya Lodge in Mleiha, are valued at Dh130 million.
Kingfisher Lodge is located in Al Qurm Nature Reserve, which is home to one of the largest mangrove forests on the east coast. The mangrove forest in Kalba is the oldest in the Arab world and this property uses this escape into the world of nature as its USP. Al Faya lodge, connected to the Mleiha project, focuses on Arab traditions and hospitality.
Al Badayer Oasis, a planned demo of which may be held in the last quarter of 2019, is a unique luxury camping experience among the dunes. It is located near one of the largest sand dunes in the region, featuring tents and luxury huts and offering a range of outdoor activities.