Dubai unveils ocean restoration project and living lab


Sustainable cities developer URB has unveiled “Dubai Reefs”, a floating living lab for marine restoration and ecotourism. The project aims to generate more than 30,000 jobs in a green economy.

The Dubai Reefs project consists of a sustainable floating community for marine research, regeneration and ecotourism, and includes residential, hospitality, retail, educational and research facilities.

Coastal cities

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, while building the most diverse artificial reef, covering 200 square kilometres. It also aims to create a home to more than one billion corals and 100 million mangrove trees.

The project aims to offer experiences in marine ecotourism with various floating eco lodges, all of which are powered by 100 per cent renewable energy from various types of solar and 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.

“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,” said Baharash Bagherian, CEO of URB.

“We need an entrepreneurial spirit in the planning of coastal cities and 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 and marine research, Dubai Reefs aims to become a blueprint for ocean living, whilst mitigating the impacts of climate change.”

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

URB is a specialist in developing sustainable cities with a sense of purpose to accelerate the world’s transition towards net zero developments. The company is headquartered in Dubai Design District with several mega-scale sustainable cities currently in planning stages.


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