Dubai plans Mall of the World as air-conditioned city within a city

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, the prime minister of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and ruler of Dubai, has announced plans for a temperature-controlled city, complete with the world’s largest indoor theme park and mall. It will cost an estimated $7bn to build.

The 4.5 million m2 "Mall of the World" is being developed by Dubai Holding, which predicts that it will attract 180 million visitors a year. Inspiration for the mall’s layout was taken from New York’s Broadway and Oxford Street in London. 

In a statement, Sheik Mohammed said the project would include 100 hotels and serviced apartment complexes, an entertainment centre with the capacity to host 15,000 people and a 300,000 m2 "wellness district" for medical tourism. 

Altogether, the mall’s internal streets will stretch for 7km, and its glass-domed theme park will cover a surface area of 4.4km2.

Speaking at the launch of the mall, Sheikh Mohammed said: "The growth in family and retail tourism underpins the need to enhance Dubai’s tourism infrastructure as soon as possible. This project complements our plans to transform Dubai into a cultural, tourist and economic hub for the 2 billion people living in the region around us – and we are determined to achieve our vision."

Temperatures can soar to more than 40°C in Dubai during the summer, however the mall will be open to the elements during the cooler winter months.

Ahmad bin Byat, the chief executive of Dubai Holding, said that, and the mall’s technology, would "reduce energy consumption and carbon footprint, ensuring high levels of environmental sustainability and operational efficiency".

The project is expected to be ready in time for the UAE World Expo in 2020.

The property market in Dubai has recorded the fastest rise in the world for the fourth consecutive quarter. The $1.9bn Living Legend scheme is nearing completion after a six-year delay.

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