Unveiling of Dubai Reefs, the largest ocean restoration project in the world
The Dubai Reefs project, hailed as “the world’s largest ocean restoration project,” has been unveiled along the coast of Dubai by URB, a renowned builder of sustainable cities.
URB, known for its work in developing intelligent, net-zero communities in places like Yas Island, Abu Dhabi, and Yiti, Oman, aims to address the challenges posed by population growth, urbanization, and climate change. With its focus on the Dubai coastline, URB is now embarking on the ambitious Dubai Reefs project, envisioning a sustainable floating village that will offer a wide range of residential, hotel, retail, educational, and research facilities. Through this endeavor, URB aims to position Dubai as a global hub for eco-tourism, eco-research, and eco-regeneration.
Baharash Bagherian, CEO of URB, placed significant importance on the role of the ocean in maintaining a healthy environment while designing the Dubai Reefs project. He emphasized, “The health of our cities is intimately connected to the health of our oceans. The ocean is the source of life, exerting control over everything. Considering the interconnectedness of our planet, a healthy ocean translates into a healthy city. Without taking immediate action, our ocean will undergo drastic changes by the end of this century.”
Aligned with Bagherian’s environmental vision, the hotels at Dubai Reefs will rely on renewable energy sources such as solar, hydroelectric, and wave farms. Visitors to Reefs will have access to state-of-the-art floating eco-lodges that offer unique marine-based eco-tourism experiences.
At the heart of the project lies a marine institute dedicated to the preservation of Dubai’s marine and coastal ecosystems. A massive 77 square mile (199 square kilometer) artificial reef will provide a natural habitat for over one billion corals and 100 million mangrove trees. These coastal ecosystems will serve as carbon sinks, partially offsetting the ecological damage caused by oil drilling and dredging along Dubai’s shore in previous decades.
To ensure the long-term effectiveness of Dubai’s coastal ecology as a carbon sink, the institution will focus on environmental education, conservation efforts, and spearhead a global initiative to tackle plastic pollution in the waters. Regenerative ocean farming techniques will facilitate food security and foster a greener economy.
Dubai Reefs is poised to transform Dubai into a sought-after eco-destination while generating over 30,000 jobs within a green economy framework.
Bagherian expressed, “We need an entrepreneurial mindset when planning coastal cities, infrastructure, and ocean-linked developments. As an innovative coastal city, Dubai is ideally positioned to lead this transformation. Beyond establishing a resilient destination for eco-tourism and marine research, Dubai Reefs aims to serve as a blueprint for oceanic living while mitigating the impacts of climate change.”