Dubai ‘THE LOOP’ healthy transport project



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Dubai The Loop Project Image: The Loop Dubai

Dubai (UAE) will soon be home to a 93-kilometer, climate-controlled highway, titled ‘THE LOOP’. The new highway is aimed at connecting over three million residents using a “healthy mode of transport, access to key services and locations by walking and cycling within minutes”, sustainable architecture firm URB said in a statement.

‘ArabianBusiness’ stated that the URB statement added, “It will provide an enjoyable climate-controlled all-year environment to make walking and cycling the primary mode of transport for Dubai’s residents, in line with its new 20-minute City initiative. The aim is to make cycling and walking the primary mode of transport for daily commutes for more than 80 percent of Dubai’s residents by 2040.”

The sustainable architecture firm URB is a global leader 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 offering services such as Master Planning, Landscape Design and Architecture. URB provides holistic solutions based on practical experience and sustainability knowhow.
 

Dubai The Loop ProjectImage: The Loop Dubai

 

‘THE LOOP’ Project

THE LOOP project in Emirate is in place to develop a smart cycling and walking infrastructure, however it is still at its research and development phase, URB said.
 

‘THE LOOP’ Features:

  • Ninety-three (93) kilometers;
  • 100 percent renewable energy using kinetic power;
  • Zero emissions transport system;
  • 100 percent recycled water for irrigation;
  • Additional amenities for residents;
  • Promotes health and wellbeing; and
  • Vertical farms for food security.

 
Explained Baharash Bagherian, URB head honcho, “Dubai is the best place for entrepreneurship in urban mobility. ‘THE LOOP’ project is an embodiment of that entrepreneurial spirit which aims to make Dubai the most connected City on earth by foot or bike. ‘The LOOP’ is the future of urban mobility infrastructures, which are more than sustainable transport systems. These types of infrastructures are spaces and utilities for people, where various leisure and community services can also be provided. These types of infrastructures are an enjoyable mode of sustainable transport, no matter the weather conditions.”

‘ArabianBusiness’ further stated that ‘THE LOOP’ is in line with Emirate’s ambition of becoming a 20-minute City, which allows residents to access destinations and essentials within 20 minutes by foot or bicycle.
 

Dubai 20-minute City

Under the directives and vision of Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, the Dubai 20-minute City falls in line with the Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan.

A statement by the Dubai Media Office (DMO) read, “A plan will be developed to enhance and utilize urban spaces, such as alleyways, spaces underneath bridges and squares, by augmenting the elements of well-being to make them attractive and relaxing for residents and visitors.”

In December 2022, Sheikh Mohammed approved the ‘second phase’ of the plan.
 

The Phase II of the plan will include several projects under 10 key initiatives:

  • Enhancing urban centers;
  • The Emirate’s real estate strategy;
  • The urban farming plan; and
  • Preserving the Urban Heritage Plan, developing the 20-minute City policy and the Pedestrian Network Master Plan.

 
Sheikh Mohammed also reviewed the progress of 17 projects and initiatives that were part of the initial phase of the Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan.

The Dubai leader put in, “Today, we have a clear vision for the development of Dubai’s urban infrastructure and housing sector until 2040. Our goal is for Dubai to be an eco- and pedestrian-friendly City, and a City with a high yield from urban agriculture.”

Under the plan, five main urban centers – three existing and two new centers – will be developed in the Emirate.

The plan will also include a “Comprehensive strategy for Dubai’s real estate sector up to 2040 to align it with the requirements of the Master Plan and strike a balance between supply and demand,” a statement by the media office added.

The Master Plan will also include initiatives for the real estate market, and will also outline ways to achieve sustainable urban development and boost investor confidence.

The second phase of the Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan will also include a framework for high-yield agriculture and farming by identifying suitable locations and developing the infrastructure and facilities required to ensure food security, the statement said.

The statement added, “Phase II also outlines plans for preserving urban heritage to enhance the Emirate’s identity, promote historical areas, landmarks and buildings, and improve the tourism experience at archaeological sites.”
 

Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan

The Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan, approved by the Emirate’s ruler in 2021, aims to make the Emirate the best City for living.

The new plan also identifies six urbanization levels that follow a graded structure of urban centers of mixed uses and densities that perform specific residential and functional roles for the community within the scope of their services.

The statement further added, “It would be possible to determine infrastructure requirements – roads and transportation systems, energy and Government services such as hospitals, schools, service centers, and service and recreational facilities – in a way that provides integrated services across all Emirate districts while enhancing the use of flexible and sustainable means of mobility under these six levels.”
 

Bagherian Speak

‘The Loop Dubai’ quoted head honcho Bagherian as stating, “In Europe, most people ride bicycles or walk to get to work. In Dubai, our aim is to get more than 80 percent of people to use a bike on a daily basis. Dubai is currently primarily built for car travel. Its major road infrastructures and networks have disconnected communities by walking or cycling, thus we need an entrepreneurial mindset in reconnecting these neighborhoods whilst making cycling or walking the primary mode of transport all year round to any part of the City.”

Added Bagherian, “Our aim is to re-engineer the future mobility infrastructure in Dubai to become more than sustainable transport systems. To think of such infrastructures as much as spaces and utilities for people, where various leisure and community services can also be provided. These types of infrastructures should be an enjoyable mode of sustainable transport, no matter the weather conditions.”
 

Cycling-Urban Transport

There is currently a big gap in the connections between cycling and public urban transport. The more the two are integrated, the easier it will become for Dubai’s residents to combine cycling and public transport on their daily commutes over a long distance. Safety and year-round usability are some of the critical issues which ‘THE LOOP’ will address. ‘THE LOOP’ is thus a paradigm shift from car-centric infrastructure to people-centric infrastructure. It will make urban mobility a joyful experience for Dubai residents whilst also making them lead a healthy lifestyle.

Ultimately, whilst Cities race to upgrade their infrastructure towards more sustainable modes of transport, ‘THE LOOP’ project in Dubai aims to create a new benchmark for the world’s smartest cycling and walking infrastructure. It will become the first active mobility infrastructure of its kind anywhere in the world, with various amenities and sustainability features that will shape the future of urban mobility in Dubai and beyond.
 

Why ‘THE LOOP’?

‘The Loop Dubai’ further stated that the increasing challenges of rapid urban expansion and climate change, together with the need of providing a high quality of life, are fueling new thinking in urban mobility to improve walkability and cycling in Dubai. Rapid urbanization has created many problems in the way we travel inside our dense Cities. Congestion, safety, air pollution, noise emissions, and high levels of CO2 are some of the key challenges that many Cities are struggling to cope with. Whilst some Cities stagnate in mobility, ‘THE LOOP’ project in Dubai will provide the world’s smartest cycling and walking infrastructure, which will promote a higher quality of life.

Cycling is a major global trend and a daily source of mobility in some parts of the world. The key challenge in Dubai is that the infrastructure and existing urban fabric is engineered primarily for the use of cars. Thus, swapping cars for bikes in an existing highly-developed car-oriented City requires a seismic shift in urban planning as well as the infrastructure required to enable that shift.

With newly built mega highways and road infrastructures already shaping the way people move around, bold visions are needed that will accelerate the transition towards cycling and walking between neighborhoods. Active mobility is more manageable to implement at a neighborhood level, yet at a Citywide level where there are major highways disconnecting communities and the primary mode of travel is on the road itself, opportunities for creative solutions that are safe, pollution-free, resilient and enjoyable to use 24/7 all year round are required.

‘THE LOOP’ will reduce car dependency by enabling urban residents to walk or cycle to fetch essential amenities within a few minutes from their homes.
 

Mixed-use Attraction

‘THE LOOP’ is much more than an Urban Mobility Infrastructure. It will provide integrated services, with necessary facilities to be shared between neighborhoods, such as leisure and wellness. Thus, it will empower a wellbeing economy in the future.

‘THE LOOP’ is multifunctional and multiuse. As a mixed-use attraction, it will feature leisure and wellness facilities such as fitness stations and sports courts. Tourism assets such as wellness hotels and wellness centers will also be integrated into ‘THE LOOP’ to promote wellness tourism.

Neighborhood pocket parks and allotments are also integrated into ‘THE LOOP’ to promote social engagement and better connect communities together.

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