Expo 2020 to transition into Expo City Dubai

21 June 2022
The new city succeeds as the legacy of Expo 2020, and remains key to the Dubai 2040 masterplan

The Expo 2020 Dubai site will be transitioned into a mixed-use district known as Expo City Dubai in the coming months.

Senior representatives from Expo shared legacy plans on 20 June at a press conference held at the Dubai Exhibition Centre.

Moving away from the District 2020 tag, the new city will be turned into a freezone for commercial and retail tenants.

The city will be managed by the Supreme Committee established in April 2022, and will be supported by a governing freezone body.

Nearly 80 per cent of the built assets will be retained, including landmarks such as Al-Wasl Plaza, the Garden in the Sky observation deck, Surreal Water Feature Terra/Sustainability pavilion and Alif/Mobility pavilion.

The Opportunity pavilion will be turned into an Expo 2020 museum showcasing the planning and execution of the six-month event. Also staying behind are the Vision pavilion and the Women’s pavilion.

Select country pavilions, including the UAE national pavilion, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Australia, Morocco, India, Pakistan and Luxembourg will be retained as part of the city, and will be re-purposed as necessary.

READ: Malaysia expo pavilion commits to District 2020 

The city will open up for visitors and tenants in phases.

Terra and Alif are slated to open in early September 2022, while the remainder of the site will open in October.

While entry to the site will be free, individual attractions will be ticketed.

Sustainability norms

Positioned as a sustainable and tech-enabled hub, the site will remain free of single-use plastic, echoing similar mandates across Dubai and Abu Dhabi.

It will also remain a pedestrianised zone, with options for soft mobility available across the site in the form of buggies, cycles and electric scooters.

The city will also be the first WELL-certified community in the region. WELL-certified communities are those that operate as inclusive and healthy urban spaces.

Business hub

As a freezone, Expo City Dubai will be opened up to businesses and other commercial tenants.

Expo partners including Siemens and DP World have already confirmed plans to set-up headquarters at the site.

According to spokesperson Ahmed al-Khatib, chief development and delivery officer at Expo 2020 Dubai, the city is keen to attract businesses working in areas such as innovation, technology, healthcare and education.

Specific selection criteria for tenants have not be released, and Al-Khatib maintains that they remain open to onboarding all partners that align with Expo’s vision of a smart future.

“We will aim to be competitive to attract tenants, but also flexible and aligned with global changes,” said Al-Khatib.

He further highlighted that the city will pursue opportunities in areas including metaverse and non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

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