Expo 2020 Dubai's closing ceremony on March 31 this year was never meant to be the end. Fast forward to October 1 and the new Expo City Dubai has opened its doors in the emirate
Expo 2020 Dubai opened its doors to the world on October 1, 2021, as one of the most diverse World Expos, bringing almost 200 country pavilions to the emirate. Such was its success that during its six-month run, the mega event recorded 24,102,967 visits from residents and international travellers combined. Across 180 days, the Expo site in Dubai South hosted more than 30,000 events, from cultural performances to live entertainment showcased on the world’s largest projection surface – Al Wasl Dome. And while the curtains may have come down on the event, the newly launched Expo City Dubai will carry its legacy forward.
A city of the future
The new attraction was announced a few weeks ago, when Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, revealed that Expo 2020 Dubai will now live on as Expo City Dubai. The site was inaugurated on October 1, 2022, on the occasion of Expo 2020 Dubai’s one-year anniversary.
A green, tech-enabled city of the future, Expo City Dubai will be driven by sustainability, innovation, education and entertainment. The site retains 80 per cent of its original infrastructure, with most of its iconic architectural features continuing to entice visitors, including the Al Wasl Plaza, the Garden in the Sky observation tower and the water feature.
The Opportunity Pavilion – one of the three thematic pavilions – transforms into Expo 2020 Dubai Museum, highlighting the history and impact of World Expos. Meanwhile, the Mobility and Sustainability pavilions will host interactive educational experiences. The Women’s Pavilion, dedicated to female changemakers, and the Vision Pavilion, which honours the vision of the emirate’s ruler, also remain major highlights.
Country pavilions that will continue to draw visitors to the site include the Saudi Arabia Pavilion, which won the best pavilion award at Expo 2020 Dubai for its interactive digital mirrored screen, and the falcon-inspired UAE Pavilion.
From start-ups to Fortune 500 companies, businesses both small and large will soon call the prestigious address of Expo City Dubai home. The district is set to become an independent free zone with its own authority and has attracted interest from a large number of commercial tenants. The site is also on track to become a mini start-up nation and once open, the 4.4 square-kilometre space will be able to host 145,000 residents and workers.
In the months to follow, the area will also become the region's new conference capital, with Dubai Exhibition Centre set to be the city’s hub for the MICE industry, hosting international fairs and events all year round.
Entertainment on the agenda
Expo 2020 Dubai saw some of the biggest stars in the world enthral audiences with captivating performances. The line-up is set to continue with the site hosting similar events in the months ahead.
Other leisure facilities will include a mall for those seeking retail therapy and numerous sports venues, which will not only host international tournaments but also offer a greater choice of fitness facilities for the active community in Dubai.
Expo City Dubai has unveiled a new blueprint for a better life with its sustainability-first ethos. In keeping with its eco-friendly environment, cars will not be allowed inside and most of its zones will be completely pedestrianised. Soft mobility options, including buggies, scooters and bicycles, will be available for people to move around with ease.
The site will comprise 123 LEED-certified buildings, epitomising the highest levels of sustainable design, construction and operations. These buildings will be fitted with smart metering systems and sensors to monitor the energy consumption as well as the efficiency of power, light, water and climate conditioning systems. Single-use plastics will also be prohibited inside the city, encouraging people to reduce, reuse and recycle.