The Legacy of Expo: District 2020


The Cityscape Global exhibition in 2017 announced the District 2020 project, which should embody the legacy of the World Expo in Dubai and support the long-term economic development of the emirate.

The project is basically its own district divided into two parts - a residential area of which will be 65,000 square meters, and a commercial area of 135,000 square meters. District 2020 will unite educational facilities, cultural facilities, exhibition halls, and innovation development centers.

According to Her Excellency Rima Al Hashemi, managing director of the Organizing Committee of Expo 2020, almost everything that Dubai creates for the World Expo will be used after its completion as objects of the new district.

Marjan Faraidooni, Senior Vice President of Expo 2020 on legacy and development, and her team intend to bring this plan to life through initiatives in four fields - economic, social, reputational, and physical. The exact work plans of the unit have not yet been published, but they imply the creation of new jobs, the involvement of young residents of the emirate and the establishment of diplomatic relations with the participating countries.

It was decided that 80% of the objects created for the exhibition will be saved or re-targeted to other tasks, becoming the physical legacy of the Expo. The remaining 20% are mostly temporary structures.

For example, in 2017, the legacy team entered into an agreement with the German company Siemens AG, which will build its international logistics headquarters in District 2020.

Upon completion of the Expo, the District 2020 will preserve landmark buildings, including the central square of Al Wasl Plaza, which will be converted into a multifunctional exhibition area; three thematic pavilions, one of which will become an interactive museum for children; as well as the UAE Pavilion. The latter has the shape of a falcon and will be saved as an attraction. Other educational institutions, museums, and galleries will also appear in the plaza.

It is in this exhibition center (its area, upon completion of construction, will be 180,000 square meters) will be the place of the future Siemens headquarters. The total area of District 2020 (minus the territory of the exhibition center) will be 200,000 square meters.

Other legacy objects of Expo 2020 will be partially sold to third parties for the purpose of further development, but, so far, the scale of this sale wasn’t disclosed as of this moment. According to Ms. Faraidooni, the redevelopment of exhibition facilities will take from three to six months, after which, the redecoration process may begin.

A new metro line called Route 2020, one of the first 5G networks in the UAE, 10-km cycle paths, 44,000 sq.m. parks and walking paths, a health center, gyms, shops, and restaurants, parking, and much more. All of these things are intended to be part of the infrastructure of the new part of the city called Dubai South and to make this site more attractive for investors and entrepreneurs who will come after the exhibition.

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