Dubai Reefs: World's largest floating community for marine restoration and ecotourism

The project is 100% powered by renewable energy and aims to generate over 30,000 jobs.
Sejal Sharma
Dubai Reefs
Dubai Reefs


There is no doubt that Dubai is one of the world’s leading tourism destinations. It houses some of the world’s tallest buildings, kilometers of camel-riding dunes, and its cultural festivals attract millions from all over the world. And now, the city will also house the world’s largest artificial reef spanning 124 square miles (200 square kilometers).

Powered by 100% renewable energy

The floating community called Dubai Reefs features facilities for marine research, ecotourism, hospitality, education, and retail. With the aim to transform Dubai into an ecotourism destination spot, the marine institute in the huge facility will be at the heart of the project and will work towards the protection of marine and coastal life.

The project will also be home to 1 billion corals and over 100 million mangrove trees, aiming to generate over 30,000 jobs within the framework of a green economy.

The project is being headed by URB, an architecture studio in Dubai that has earlier worked on projects like The Loop, a 93-km long highway for pedestrians and cyclists that would cover the parameter of Dubai like a snake. 

URB has taken on the ambitious project in light of the looming catastrophe brought on by climate change the world will have to face if it fails to limit the global temperature rise to 1.5 degrees Celsius, a commitment to the Paris Agreement. In a statement, the company said that even if the Paris Agreement’s pledge is honored, many cities will have to adapt to rising sea levels and coastal flooding, including in Dubai.

Highlighting the significance of this project, URB’s CEO Baharash Bagherian said, “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 today.”

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

Calling itself ‘A living lab for marine restoration and ecotourism,’ Dubai Reefs aims to make Dubai a smart city with an environmental conscience.

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