(MENAFN - Khaleej Times) In a major step towards realising its 2020 World Expo dream, the UAE on Friday unveiled a green site master plan to host the six-month event if the country's bid is successful.
The site - Dubai Trade Centre and Jebel Ali - was selected due to its strategic location, equidistant between Dubai and Abu Dhabi and adjacent to the Dubai World Central Airport and the Jebel Ali Port, providing ease of access for the millions of international and local visitors expected.
Reem Ibrahim Al Hashimi, UAE Minister of State and Managing Director of the Higher Committee for Hosting the 2020 World Expo in Dubai, highlighted the site's visitor capacity and plans for its long-term use after 2020.
"This 438-hectare site will be one of the largest ever used for a World Expo and will ensure an unforgettable experience for the event's 25 million visitors, who will collectively make upwards of 33 million visits. Throughout the development process, we have also sought to ensure that the site will serve as a permanent attraction beyond 2020 and will enhance further the UAE's long-term appeal as a premier destination for high-profile global events."
The unveiling took place in Paris, France, during a presentation at the 152nd General Assembly of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), the inter-governmental body in charge of overseeing the bidding, selection and organisation of World Expos.
At the core of the site is an open plaza called Al Wasl (the connection) - a historical name for Dubai, and branching out from the plaza are three main zones that symbolise the bid's sub themes of sustainability, mobility and opportunity.
The design is aligned to the legacy proposition and future use of the site, with the main walkways shaded by a photovoltaic fabric structure, which will capture solar energy to generate clean power, plus contribute nearly 50 per cent of the power requirements that are needed for the Expo.
Commenting on the environmental sustainability of the site, Helal Saeed Al Marri, CEO of Dubai World Trade Centre, said: "Legacy planning will be deployed at the earliest stages of Expo preparations, leveraging every opportunity for Dubai Expo 2020 to re-energise research, innovation and collaboration across the site, and truly resonate the core principles of our bid theme and sub themes."
He added: "Every element of the masterplan has been designed with due consideration to its after-life and with a defined strategy for re-use, striking a balance between long-term requirements for the city as well as the six months of Expo operations. The Dubai Trade Centre-Jebel Ali Site has been master-planned to create a legacy in environmental sustainability for the BIE and the global community, while delivering a cost-efficient and viable infrastructure for Dubai and the region."
Inspired by traditional Arab souks, the site integrates the UAE's unique architectural heritage and environment of vibrancy and trade with the requirements of the Expo to foster the fundamental principles of innovation, partnership and collaboration between participants and visitors.
The site masterplan, which was designed by HOK, Populus and Arup, is a manifestation of the country's Expo bid theme: Connecting Minds, Creating the Future.
This presentation is the third of five opportunities the UAE will have to formally support its bid to the BIE in the lead up to the November 2013 selection of the host nation for the Expo.
Dubai, UAE, is competing against four other candidate cities bidding to host the 2020 World Expo, including Ayutthaya (Thailand); Ekaterinburg (Russia); Izmir (Turkey); and Sao Paulo (Brazil). The winning city will be announced in November 2013 following a vote by the 161 member nations of the BIE.