Smart City Dubai: The Happiest City of the Future

From the first smart police station with robocops to the first Blockchain government, Dubai's smart city strategy is sure to impress.

Smart City Dubai: The Happiest City of the Future
Smart City Dubai/ Photo by Robert Bock on Unsplash

Dubai plans to have flying taxis flying the city skies, on-demand autonomous vehicles on the roads, and robocops guarding the city in the near future. By 2020 the government expects all visa applications, license renewals, and bill payments transacted digitally. The equivalent to 100 million paper documents each year.

Dubai wants to be the smartest, cleanest, happiest city in the world by becoming paperless and moving its government to the Blockchain. We don't have to wait decades for this to happen. Dubai's digital transformation is happening right now. 

 “The Dubai government differs from others around the world in that it aims to make Dubai the Happiest City on Earth. In short, we want to give people back time they would have otherwise spent on filing paperwork." -Her Excellency Dr Aisha Bin Bishr, Director General of Smart Dubai Office

The city of Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), has been developing a vision to transform the city into a leading hub. The government of Dubai aims at offering an efficient, seamless, impactful, and happy experience to all citizens and visitors alike. 

The mind behind the Smart Dubai project is Her Excellency Dr. Aisha Bin Bishr, Director General of Smart Dubai Office. 

In Dubai, it is not necessary to wait long to see and experience a truly smart city packed with all the technology of the future such as Artificial Intelligence, autonomous cars, smart living, and a sense of collective happiness.  

5 Dubai's futuristic smart city projects being completed from 2019 through 2021

From over 700 cities from around the world that participated in the Smart City Congress and Expo in Barcelona this year, Dubai was perhaps one that showed real, tangible advancement into the smart city future. 

Learning about Dubai's smart city initiatives only leaves one with the desire of visiting the city to experience the model of a real city of the future. 

Smart Dubai exhibited DubaiNow, which offers instant digital access to over 62 government services comprised by advanced platforms all providing instant and seamless digital access to the services.


Dubai is a real futuristic city where big projects are under construction ready to open as soon as 2019. 

These are the real estate projects and their opening year: 

1. Blue Water Island (2019)

2. Meydan One (2020) 

3. Dubai Creek Harbor (2021)

4. Dubai Harbor (2021)

5. Marsa Al Arab (2021) 

Smart Dubai 2021 

Artificial Intelligence Lab 

Dubai's Artificial Intelligence (AI) Lab is harnessing the power of machine learning toward the city's ambitious goal of becoming the smartest city in the world. Dubai is integrating AI into all government services and city experiences.

This strategy results in citizens' improved overall quality of life, which in turn boosts happiness levels. With this vision, Dubai wants to become not only the smartest but also the happiest city on the planet. Technically, a paradise on Earth. 

Dubai has established a partnership with IBM and also continues working with a number of other partners across governmental and private sectors.


These partnerships provide the essential tools and go-to-market support that the city needs in order to implement AI services and applications in a variety of fields. 

Dubai is doing not less than infusing Artificial Intelligence into the heart of the city and its operating system. Dubai is also using Artificial Intelligence technology to get inspired into discovering new pathways that will lead to the creation of a blueprint for the exciting future that Dubai envisions. 

By 2030, Dubai will have the first smart police station (SPS) with 25 percent of its workforce being robocops. The first robot officer was launched in 2017 to patrol Dubai streets.

The multilingual robot can receive fine payments and members of the public can report crimes through the screen on the robot's chest. 


Paperless government 

In 2021, the Dubai government is going completely paperless. By doing this, it eliminates more than one billion sheets of paper used annually for government transactions. 

The Dubai government will issue its last paper transaction in 2021. We have instructed the Smart Dubai office to oversee this goal." - His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Mohammed Al Maktoum

The paperless initiative is part of the Smart City Dubai 2021, the city of the future envisioned by the government. It will help officials and citizens to save time, resources, and the environment as well. 

Paperless Dubai means 100 percent of internal and customer transactions will be digitized from 2021 onwards. Issuing or asking for paper documents will be a thing of the past. 

The government will be focused on implementing all the necessary technology to enable smooth paperless transactions. The paperless blockchain initiative will help save 25.1 million man-hours and will represent 1.5 billion in saving per year for the emirate. 

This is how Dubai's future as a paperless government works: 


Blockchain governance 

By 2020, Dubai is going to become the world's first city fully powered by Blockchain. 

The Technologies Building The Smart Cities of The Future

The Technologies Building The Smart Cities of The Future

Blockchain technology can potentially provide a successful way for governments to keep citizens' data safe and cut identity fraud. Used as a distributed database, Blockchain can store data across a network of computers, creating a permanent, public record. 

Dubai is aiming to be the world's first city to use Blockchain technology on a large scale adopting the Dubai Blockchain Strategy (DBS). This strategy is part of the smart city plan that will help Dubai achieve the vision of H.H. Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The strategy is going to be using three strategic pillars:

- Government Efficiency 

- Industry Creation

- International Leadership

The Dubai Blockchain Strategy is an ambitious plan that includes all of Dubai's government services such as visa applications, issuing driving licenses, and enrolling students in schools.


Last year, Dubai launched emCash, its own cryptocurrency. With its citizens can pay for all services via digital cash.

Dubai has also set up the 46-member Global Blockchain Council, which includes companies such as IBM, Microsoft, and Cisco, to lead the way in the country's initiative toward the adoption of Blockchain technology. 

However, there is much more to that in the potential of the Blockchain technology. In the future, it could power the smart cities in the form of distributed energy grids. People and devices could then transact energy peer-to-peer. 

Happiness Agenda 

For the first time, a government has citizen happiness as a goal and it is actively working toward it. As Dubai transforms the city through state-of-the-art technology and innovation at a rapid speed, the government keeps citizen happiness as a primary goal. 


Dubai addresses the fundamental needs of both residents and visitors by enhancing everybody's short- and long-term happiness and wellbeing. This creates a benchmark for other cities which could be inspired to follow Dubai's lead. 

Dubai uses the Happiness Agenda as one-of-a-kind, scientific and systematic approach. With it, the government wants to raise and sustain happiness levels by measuring the impact on residents and visitors. 

Dubai uses a city-wide Happiness index and ambassadors who work across a range of government and non-government entities. They are responsible for embedding happiness into their organizations. 

Dubai has exciting plans of advancement for its future. Smart City Dubai starts to become a reality now and toward 2021. Smart Dubai doesn't stop there, though. The city already has a vision toward Dubai 2050. 

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