By Andy Sambidge
Officials say open plaza will be at core of the Dubai Trade Centre - Jebel Ali site
UAE officials have unveiled their masterplan for Dubai Trade Centre - Jebel Ali, which will be created to host the 2020 World Expo.
The unveiling took place in Paris on Friday during a presentation at the 152nd General Assembly of the Bureau International des Expositions (BIE), the intergovernmental body in charge of overseeing the bidding, selection and organisation of World Expos.
At the core of the site masterplan, which was designed by HOK, Populus and Arup, is an open plaza called Al Wasl (the connection) and branching out from the plaza are three main zones that symbolise the bid's sub themes of sustainability, mobility and opportunity.
Inspired by traditional Arab souks, the site integrates the UAE's architectural heritage with the requirements of the Expo to foster the fundamental principles of innovation, partnership and collaboration between participants and visitors.
Dubai is competing against four other candidate cities bidding to host the six-month long 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.
Reem Al Hashimy, UAE Minister of State and managing director of the Higher Committee for Hosting the 2020 World Expo in Dubai, said: "We are very pleased to share the masterplan for Dubai Trade Centre - Jebel Ali, our proposed site to host the 2020 World Expo.
"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," she added.
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 resonating the core principles of our bid theme and sub themes.
"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."
Friday's 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.