Dubai is known for dreaming the impossible and doing the unthinkable. You only have to look at the world’s tallest building (Burj Khalifa) or the first-of-its-kind incubator for sustainable cities to confirm that. Then, there are futuristic structures such as the Museum of the Future, Dubai Frame, and Ain Dubai (the biggest Ferris wheel on the planet) that prove beyond doubt that the Emirate never fails to impress us. And, once again, it is the landmark in Downtown Dubai that is making headlines again.

Just when it seemed that Burj Khalifa could not get any more iconic, forward-thinking architecture firm ZN | Era Space has come up with an intriguing proposal. It involves building a massive ring around the tallest structure on the planet that would sit 1,800 feet off the ground. The idea is to encourage sustainable and self-sufficient vertical urbanism.

Known as “Downtown Circle,” the project aims to build a hyper-efficient 5-storey mega urban center that would give back to its environment. To do that, the team at ZN | Era Space plans to build sustainability while maintaining livability.

Downtown Circle: Tackling Urbanization to Ensure Sustainability

Supported by five huge pillars, Downtown Circle is set to have a circumference of 3 kilometers. At 550 meters tall, the skyscraper would consist of two interconnected rings that will be home to commercial, residential, public, and cultural spaces. A green belt, known as the “green lung” of the building, would be sandwiched between these circular structures.

ZN | Era refers to Downtown Circle as a “continuous metropolis” that would be perfect for dealing with the rapid urbanization and population increase in Dubai. The project aims to give back to the natural environment by facilitating solar power generation and rainwater harvesting.

One of the levels within Downtown Circle will comprise of “The Skypark” which will recreate multiple climates and natural scenarios. Residents and visitors would be able to enjoy a lively journey among sandy dunes, canyons, waterfalls, swamps, cascades, digital caves, tropical vegetation, and plants from various floras. As an important component of the urban ecosystem of the future, the building would have the capability to store carbon and remove pollutants from the air. 

Moreover, a raised heliport on the roof of the inner ring would provide convenient transportation for visitors. An efficient fleet of suspended peripheral pods would also be available to transport passengers from one point to another within Downtown Circle. A rail network on the lowest tier would connect these vessels. In addition, a special pad for delivery drones would facilitate courier companies, e-commerce platforms, and other delivery service providers.

Credit Bosshunting and -1
Credit: Bosshunting and

Deep Dive Dubai, potentially the deepest swimming pool on earth, would be yet another irresistible attraction in Downtown Circle. If water is your thing, this place would be a must-see!

Dubai Metaverse Strategy: Leveraging the Next Big Business Opportunity

Leading the charge into a sustainable tech-driven future having the most advanced and enabling ecosystem imaginable, the government of Dubai has recently introduced the Dubai Metaverse Strategy. It aims to place the city among the 10 most prominent metaverse hubs in the world. As of now, close to 1,000 Dubai-based organizations are already operating in the emerging virtual realm. The plan is to facilitate business development for such companies and quintuple their number.

The Dubai Metaverse Strategy would encourage technological innovation and Research and Development-based partnerships at every level. Furthermore, it intends to create futuristic business ecosystems. For this purpose, the finest incubators and accelerators would be utilized to attract reputable companies and groundbreaking projects from around the globe. Doing so would add 40,000 virtual employment opportunities while also injecting $4 billion into the Dubai economy by 2030. 

Web 3.0 is opening up exciting prospects of extended reality that could rake in billions of dollars for  Dubai, making it a promising metaverse centre. At the moment, metaverse and blockchain are contributing $500 million to the Emirate’s economy. The Dubai Metaverse Strategy plans to take advantage of this situation.

In May 2022, the Virtual Assets Regulatory Authority (VARA) set up its Metaverse HQs. Governed by the Dubai Virtual Asset Regulation Law, this was the very first case of an Emirati regulatory authority fully adopting this emerging digital space. Moreover, the government is keenly inviting third parties for support in the transition of various public services to the metaverse.

Will Dubai Become the First Sci-Fi City?

Ambition does not get much bigger than Dubai Metaverse Strategy and Downtown Circle. They are certainly in keeping with Dubai’s lofty standards of doing things bigger and better than others do. The Emirate is certainly a leading research and development centre when it comes to emerging industries like blockchain and the metaverse. 

This has prompted many to call Dubai “the city of the future.” Taking a forward-thinking approach, it facilitates a proactive ecosystem for innovation and sustainable business models. There’s a vibrant community of startup accelerators and incubators as well. 

Moreover, foreign direct investment (FDI) is at an all-time high while the emirate ranks number one with regard to technology transfer in robotics and AI (Artificial Intelligence). In addition, the progressive authorities of the city are eagerly designing an experimental testbed for concepts like Hyperloop technologies.

Given this scenario, Dubai has all the ingredients needed to become the first sci-fi dwelling in the world. But only time will tell what’s in store!

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