Expo Dubai’s legacy … an integrated destination for leadership and creativity

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The legacy phase of Expo 2020 Dubai is embodied after the end of its activities and transforming its location into an integrated destination for communication, leadership and creativity that contributes to the growth of the innovation economy and attracts the largest companies and start-ups, individuals and families, and this destination bears the name “District 2020”.

After the six months during which the Expo 2020 Dubai will be held, District 2020 will emerge as a smart and sustainable global region, maintaining the spirit of the World Expo, supporting the process of sustainable economic development and focusing on driving growth in key sectors including: travel and tourism, logistics, transportation, and education, construction, internet of things, artificial intelligence, big data, and blockchain.

District 2020 is a modern complex designed to provide an ideal balance between harmony, communication and social life. It is characterized by a smart infrastructure that is targeted and designed to meet the needs of future employees and residents. The district also combines a space suitable for innovation with contemporary housing, educational facilities, recreational facilities, and a range of social attraction destinations. The area will house 80% of Expo 2020 site facilities while preserving its iconic facilities.

District 2020 embodies a new form of multi-use complexes, focusing on creating a system that stimulates innovation, supports future housing and work methods, and is a model for human-centered smart cities, taking advantage of the advanced digital and physical infrastructure, as they provide an integrated environment for contemporary housing and work, through modern, flexible, and multi-use commercial and residential spaces, with many common spaces and open areas  to encourage interaction and cooperation, in addition to providing various options, from hospitality, retail, restaurants and cafes facilities, and includes designing a model of the area and all its components to suit the vital sectors in the future of the UAE, like smart cities, smart healthcare, smart logistics and smart transportation. It will also focuse on a group of sectors that are expected to flourish in the post-pandemic world, especially those related to mobility, sustainability and opportunities, the three core topics of Expo Dubai. .

District 2020 will support diversity and creativity, and it is also the first complex in the region to be registered according to the (WEIL) standards for residential complexes, which measure the ability of residential complexes around the world to provide a healthy lifestyle for their residents. In light of the lifestyle of emerging project managers and small companies crowded with business, the system seeks to maintain population health, social cohesion, and provide a balanced lifestyle, through integrated community spaces and facilities capable of embracing social interaction. District will contain amazing landmark event spaces from Expo 2020, which are Al Wasl Square, which will be the center of the complex and a major destination for events, and the Terra Sustainability Pavilion at Expo, which will become the center for children and science, to inspire young minds and encourage appreciation of the greatness of our world, and the system will be a vital destination that  supports diversity and creativity, with social and cultural events throughout the year.

The re-employment and transfer of the Expo Dubai site to “District 2020” will take place in stages after a specified period of the end of the event. Upon completion of its capacity, “District 2020”  will be home to 145,000 residents and employees. District 2020 will maintain a floor area of ​​more than 2,500,000 square feet available to third-party companies to develop residential, commercial, hotel, educational and mixed-use spaces.

Thanks to its location in the south of Dubai, near Al Maktoum International Airport, the District 2020 area is easily accessible from various airports and ports in the UAE. It will be an inclusive community with green open spaces for residential and commercial uses, social and cultural platforms, educational facilities, as well as numerous hospitality facilities, retail stores, food and beverages.

In support of the UAE Vision 2021, in which digital technology is one of the seven main sectors, Expo 2020 Dubai will form a distinct model for digital communication through the adoption of the fifth generation (5G) technology that will continue to be used in the “District 2020”.

District 2020 aims to contribute to enhancing Dubai’s attractiveness for creative startups and innovative emerging projects. To achieve this goal, it launched a global program for entrepreneurs under the name “Skill 2 Dubai” to enable emerging and small companies to expand internationally by participating in their innovation ecos ystem. The program, which attracts companies from around the world, will be based on the platform provided by Expo 2020 and carries the vision of this mega event of connecting minds from around the world, supporting diversity, innovation and knowledge sharing to create lasting benefits for organizations. The program will enable global start-ups and innovators to match their business with Dubai, by drawing on partnerships forged following their country’s participation in the first international expos in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia region.

Winning applicants in “Skill 2 Dubai” will also get comfortable access to Dubai as part of “District 2020”, including the support they need to expand and adapt in order to establish themselves in the UAE market. The benefits they receive include two years of free workspace, support with business setup, visas, and more. In addition, they will be supported by the excellent physical and digital infrastructure of District 2020, its strategic geographic location, and its ideal system for work and housing. The program aims to enable the growth of innovation in various sectors by providing these emerging and small companies with the tools and environment they need to innovate and thrive. District 2020 aims to create an innovation-based ecosystem by bringing companies together, large or small, from various sectors and from different parts of the world to collaborate and gain additional competitive advantages.

To achieve this ambition, Skill 2 Dubai focuses on attracting companies that are still in the early stages of their growth and that operate in the essential sectors of Dubai’s future and the innovation-based economy, in addition to companies working in the field of supportive and necessary transitional technology to achieve the goal of “District 2020”.

The startups and global innovators participating in Skill 2 Dubai will contribute to the diversification of the UAE’s economy, building a new generation of companies that provide jobs, stimulate creativity, and play their role as a platform to attract different talents – all of which are key components of the innovation environment provided by District 2020.

Small companies will reap great benefits from their presence in this smart city, which provides the fifth generation (5G) network, and the best possible infrastructure, to enable future technologies, with easy access and mobility within them, thanks to the direct metro line, which was established under the name «Route 2020» Within the red line of the Dubai Metro. District 2020 is also located in an excellent location at the intersection of Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed Road and Expo Street, 45 minutes away from two major airports, and 15 minutes from one of the largest cargo airports in the world, Al Maktoum International Airport. In addition to the many advantages that make District 2020 a different model of modern destinations, which provide an excellent place to live and work, and fit the requirements of the future.

Within the framework of a long-term planning policy, District 2020 succeeded in attracting a number of major international companies, which will take the region as the headquarters for their regional operations after the end of the event, before the start of Expo 2020 Dubai. The German company Siemens rented offices in two buildings in District 2020 for a period of ten years. The company will manage its operations in Dubai after the conclusion of Expo 2020 Dubai. The new offices of Siemens will span an area of ​​about 11 thousand square meters, and will be among the most technically advanced offices in the UAE, and will form a base for the two companies, Siemens and Siemens Energy. It is expected that about a thousand employees will work in the two buildings for Siemens, after the transformation of the Expo 2020 Dubai site to District 2020.

The presence of the German company will encourage growth in a number of sectors, enhance innovation, and create new job opportunities in District 2020, which will represent an added value for it in the long term.

As the infrastructure and smart operations partner of Expo 2020 Dubai in the category of official first partner, the presence of Siemens in District 2020 will be a very important factor to help stimulate innovation and the exchange of ideas between institutions in many sectors, especially the logistics, energy and major future technology sectors in the UAE.

Accenture, a global company for specialized technology services, is also planning to open a digital technology center in District 2020, while Merck KGA, Germany’s leading global science and technology company in the field of advanced science and technology, will establish the Merck Center for Sustainability. In “District 2020”, the center includes various programs aimed at finding research solutions based on the application of advanced technologies and sciences to sustainability challenges. The Merck Center for Sustainability aims to accelerate the path of sustainable solutions to global urban challenges, build capacity and develop skills by launching a set of educational and research programs that encourage cooperation and joint work in research and development to support a new generation of innovators and stimulate the process of transformation towards a more sustainable world. The center will also include an incubator for start-ups focused on supporting the growth of new companies in the field of sustainability. The center will also facilitate access to the vast experience and infrastructure use of the Merck Group, the leading company in the field of science and technology.

For its part, “Atlas Capital”, which is based in Shanghai, will join the companies operating in “District 2020”, where it will establish a special headquarters for “blockchain” technology extending over an area of ​​15,000 square meters in “District 2020”, which supports the efforts being made by the region to form a pioneering technical environment for blockchain and other future technology. This headquarters will help attract a group of companies looking to adopt advanced blockchain technology, by providing them with a space for cooperation and making global expertise available to them.

By: Bashar Akram

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