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Sustainable Living
Sustainable Development
Urban & Rural Development

The battle for sustainable development will be won or lost in cities

Jan Eliasson, UN Deputy Secretary-General, at the Mayor’s Forum of the World Cities Summit, New York (2015)

Cities are home to over 56% of the world’s population and account for more than 60% of global CO2 emissions . By 2050, nearly 70% of people will live in cities , and most of the projected increase in urban populations will be in the Global South. Addressing the challenges facing legacy and emerging cities across the world requires a new way of thinking and working, one which utilises a holistic, values-driven approach to create positive impact for communities and their environments in all their uniqueness.

Expo City Dubai is our blueprint for this approach. Purpose-built as a vanguard for sustainable living, it seeks to enable cities everywhere to deliver on the needs of people and planet today and live up to our duty of care for generations to come. It also shapes our understanding of cities as a complex “system of systems” that requires careful, inclusive and integrated thinking.

Informed by insights and expertise gained from building the world's first purpose-built sustainable city, we look at communities and living spaces through the lens of the interconnected “layers” that are inherent in every city. These include the physical, operational, experiential, programmed and virtual environments

Expo City Dubai's physical environment reflects our commitment to sustainability as a foundation for communities everywhere. All 123 permanent buildings in the city, built during Expo 2020 Dubai, are LEED certified, including seven awarded “platinum”, 105 “gold” and nine “silver”. Expo City Dubai was awarded eight CEEQUAL “excellent” certificates for infrastructure and public realm projects. It is also the Middle East’s first WELL Community Standard project to support people’s health and wellbeing. In addition, five-and-a-half megawatts of rooftop solar PV have been incorporated into permanent buildings across Expo City Dubai.

The operating environment takes into account how the everyday life of the city impacts communities and natural ecosystems. During Expo 2020 Dubai, we developed the RISE Guidelines for Sustainable Operations, and continue to use them for Expo City Dubai . Siemens’ MindSphere Smart City platform optimises operations across more than 140 buildings city wide , and Expo City Dubai has 33 per cent less energy demand compared to international standards thanks to operational efficiencies.

The experiential environment offers a blueprint for cities and communities everywhere to enrich the resident and visitor experience through exploration, discovery and meaningful engagement that inspires positive action. For example, during Expo 2020 Dubai, over 90 per cent of visitors to the Mobility Pavilion said the experience inspired them to seek a better future and 96 per cent of visitors to the Sustainability Pavilion reported being inspired to make a positive change.

The programmed environment underscores the critical role of cities and living spaces to serve as platforms for awareness, education and cross-cultural and- generational dialogue. Expo 2020 Dubai's global agenda-setting Programme for People and Planet, which Expo City Dubai continues to host, was endorsed by 192 nations, 142 of which participated in the programme. The city continues to engage and enlighten residents and visitors on the critical issues of our time and inspire them to take meaningful action on some of the most urgent issues of our time.

The virtual environment reflects how a community shares its story with the world, expanding its impact and contributing to societal wellbeing. During Expo 2020 Dubai, there were more than a quarter of a billion virtual visits to Expo City during the six months of event time, with visitors exploring immersive experiences and gamified plug-ins such as Minecraft. The Seeds of Change gamification platform connected millions of people to projects reducing carbon emissions, and more than 8.6 million schoolchildren from 71 countries engaged with Expo 2020 Dubai online.

With our integrated layers approach, we are championing a cleaner, greener and healthier future for all.

We continue to work with mayors, urban planners, entrepreneurs, community leaders and everyone committed to building sustainable communities by providing insight, experience, and expertise that enable them adopt a values-driven, holistic approach to addressing their unique challenges.

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