Tsunami CostaBir gives us the lowdown on how the Dubai Expo 2020 site has been turned into a Smart City.
Expo 2020 had a massive participation of 192 countries that put up installations in their assigned pavilions to showcase cultural, social, and technological developments in their respective countries. The theme was “Connecting Minds, Creating The Future”. Sustainability, mobility, and opportunity were the sub-themes. Their five key tracks were Build Bridges (cultural focus), Leave No One Behind (social development focus), Live In Balance (sustainability focus), Thrive Together (economic focus) and the UAE Vision 2071 (UAE’s long-term plans for the future). Dubai has always been a smart, innovation-driven city and is a hub for international business.
After the six-month expo, the site was turned into a 3,000,000sq m development zone called ‘District 2020’ – a city that takes one 15 minutes to navigate with commercial and residential spaces. Terra – The Sustainability Pavilion turned into a children’s and science centre, while Alif – The Mobility Pavilion turned into an office building. Mission Possible – The Opportunity Pavilion was rebuilt as a mixed-use space and the UAE Pavilion as the UAE’s cultural centre.
The focus of District 2020 is contributing to Dubai’s growth economy through disruptive technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI), big data, and blockchain. The authorities have collaborated with organizations in various categories and of different sizes – ranging from start-ups, scale-ups, universities, governments, and Fortune 500 companies – in the sectors of smart logistics, smart mobility, and digital healthcare. In this two-way street, while organisations contribute to Expo 2020, they will also benefit from its highly connected digital environment.
His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai, wrote: “After the historical success of Expo 2020 Dubai, visited by more than 24 million visitors, it left a mark in the 170-year history of the world expositions, today we announce the transformation of the exhibition site into Expo City Dubai, a new city that represents the ambitions of Dubai. Expo City Dubai will be an environmentally friendly city that caters to families and future generations. A city connected to a port and two airports, and also to beautiful memories in the hearts and minds of millions of people.”
Incidentally, Siemens, the global giant, held a big role in the project which encouraged industry growth, accelerated innovation, and stimulated job creation, bringing continuous long-term value to District 2020 and Dubai’s economy overall. The China-based tech company Terminus Technologies, set up its first headquarters outside of China to contribute to the R&D, AI (Artificial Intelligence), and IoT (Internet of Things), supporting the transformative growth in the region and also defining District 2020’s commitment to forging foreign partnerships. In the same way, every tenant will contribute to District 2020 in its unique way. The Executive Vice President at Siemens, Oliver Kraft, shared his views on the project, “I truly believe that District 2020 will be the ecosystem that fosters collaboration and drives innovation. We are looking to participate in that because we have already become one of the anchor tenants.”
The diverse presence of companies from various industries ranging from Fortune 500s to start-ups will promote a mutual exchange of information and collaboration, leading to transformative growth, and innovation with the potential of shifting dynamics of industries on a global scale. Nadimeh Mehra, the Vice President of the District 2020 transition union, said, “District 2020 aspires to become a test bed for new technologies and innovations. We can anticipate certain requirements and adapt our infrastructure to address those needs, as we are doing right now in the development of District 2020.”
District 2020 connects all 6 of its neighbourhoods through designated walking paths, cycle routes, jogging tracks and autonomous transport ways. Along with being technologically advanced, District 2020 aims to be a human-centric city that doesn’t isolate its residents. The goal is to focus on having smart mobility and logistics which creates a blueprint for smart cities that will enhance the well-being and quality of life, while supporting economic growth.