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Dubai’s URB reveals designs for floating marine lab, to generate 30,000 jobs

Posted on May 15, 2023

Design and architecture firm, URB, has revealed the design and concept for its newest project ‘Dubai Reefs.’

Aimed at generating more than 30,000 jobs in the green economy, Dubai Reefs is a floating living lab for marine restoration and ecotourism. The project includes residential, hospitality, retail, educational & research facilities.

The marine institute will be the heart of the project, working towards greater protection of the marine and coastal environment of Dubai. It aims to accelerate the marine science and conservation capacity of Dubai, whilst building the most diverse artificial reef, covering 200 square kilometres. It also aims to create a home to more than 1 billion corals & to more than 100 million mangrove trees.

The project will also offer unique experiences in marine ecotourism with various floating eco-lodges, all of which are powered by 100% renewable energy with various types of solar & hydropower. These include wave farms that will also produce additional clean energy for Dubai’s growing population

Regenerative Ocean Farming is another key feature of the project, which is a climate-friendly food production technique.

CEO of URB, Baharash Bagherian, highlights the significance of the project for Dubai as well as coastal cities at risk of sea level rise.

“The health of our cities is intrinsically tied to the health of our oceans. The ocean is the source of life controlling everything. Given that everything on our planet is connected, a healthy ocean is a healthy city. Our ocean will be entirely different by the end of the century if we don’t take action today.

We need an entrepreneurial spirit in the planning of coastal cities & the types of infrastructure as well as developments that are linked to the ocean. As an innovative coastal city, Dubai is best positioned to lead such a transformation. Beyond creating a unique resilient destination for ecotourism & marine research, Dubai Reefs aims to become a blueprint for ocean living, whilst mitigating the impacts of climate change.”

Ultimately, Dubai Reefs will promote social, environmental and economic benefits. It aims to transform Dubai into an eco-destination, where the ocean and the city thrive in balance.

Key facts about Dubai Reefs

  • Mix use floating eco-tourism hub
  • Research & conservation facilities
  • World’s largest artificial reef 200km2
  • 1 Billion Corals
  • 100 million mangrove trees
  • 100% renewable energy
  • Ocean regenerative farming
  • Innovative blue infrastructure


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