Dubai unveils 93km cycling and wellness highway, The Loop.
Plans are underway to create the world’s most advanced platform for cycling and running in Dubai, with the development of a 93 km sustainable urban roadway. URB, the developer behind the project, envisions “The Loop” as a climate-controlled structure that promotes cycling and walking as the primary modes of transportation for Dubai residents throughout the year.
Designed with kinetic flooring and powered entirely by renewable energy, The Loop will incorporate a zero-emissions transit system. This multifunctional building will not only offer leisure opportunities for residents and visitors but also serve as a hub for wellness tourism. The developers aim to cater to various types of travelers by including several wellness hotels along the winding construction, accommodating different price ranges. Additionally, athletic facilities and fitness centers will be available.
URB’s CEO, Baharash Bagherian, emphasized Dubai’s entrepreneurial spirit and the goal of making it the most connected city on Earth by foot or bike. The vision is to achieve over 80% of the population using bicycles on a daily basis, emulating the European model where cycling and walking are common for commuting.
The Loop will feature a curved glass structure adorned with small parks, playgrounds, and allotments, all covered in vegetation. Vertical farms within the building will contribute to increasing locally produced food in the city. While still in the research and development phase, the project, once approved, has the potential to significantly reduce dependence on vehicles, enabling urban residents to conveniently walk or cycle to nearby amenities. This initiative aligns with Dubai’s aspirations to become one of the world’s most livable cities.
Although the exact route has yet to be confirmed, The Loop has several potential routes, including Expo City, JLT, Al Quoz, Downtown Dubai, Meydan, and Academic City. The developers are currently finalizing the best options for the project, including the route, phasing, and timelines. The first phase of the project is expected to be completed by the end of the year.
In a unique approach, residents who utilize The Loop will be incentivized for their cycling or walking efforts through daily rewards, with additional incentives for frequent use. An app will be used to track and measure metrics related to these activities.
Bagherian further emphasized that The Loop will be the world’s first active mobility infrastructure of its kind, incorporating various amenities and sustainability features that will shape the future of urban mobility not just in Dubai but also globally.
URB, a company focused on net-zero sustainable cities, offers services in master planning and development management. In addition to The Loop, they have unveiled plans for Agri Hub, an ambitious agritourism venture in Dubai’s desert, expected to be the largest of its kind worldwide. URB is also working on other notable projects, including Alnama Smart City in Riyadh, accommodating 44,000 people, and XZero City in Kuwait, a sustainable net-zero city for 100,000 residents.
The concept of The Loop aligns with Dubai’s aspiration to become a 20-minute city, where the majority of residents can access their daily needs within a 20-minute walk or bike ride from their homes. Studies have shown that most people are willing to travel for up to 20 minutes to fulfill their local daily needs. This concept is not unique to Dubai, as cities like Paris, Melbourne, and Edinburgh are also striving to create 15 or 20-minute neighborhoods as part of their urban design plans.