The United Arab Emirates is building a $354 million city with driverless cars, greenhouses, and solar-powered villas

Sustainable City outside Dubai, UAE.

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Sustainable City outside Dubai, UAE.
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Dubai Sustainable City

For much of the 20th century, the United Arab Emirates was known as one of the world’s biggest oil producers and, as a result, greenhouse-gas emitters.

But in the past two decades, the UAE government has made an effort to lower its own dependency on fossil fuels, shifting toward more environmentally-friendly sources to power its cities.

The UAE aims to have 75% of Dubai’s energy come from clean sources by 2050. If the city pulls that off, it would have the smallest carbon footprint in the world.

As part of this larger goal, local company Diamond Developers is building a city 18 miles outside central Dubai that’s designed to produce more energy than it consumes. Called Sustainable City, the development is expected to cost $354 million and be fully complete by 2019.

Find out more below:


In 2013, Diamond Developers started building Sustainable City, which is expected to be completed by the end of 2018.

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Dubai Sustainable City

Source: Arabian Business


The 113-acre city aims to curb CO2 emissions as much as possible. Cars are banned from most neighborhoods.

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Dubai Sustainable City

Residents are only permitted to take public transport, drive electric-powered smart cars, or take horse-drawn buggies.

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Dubai Sustainable City

Instead of gas stations, there are 250 charging stations.


On January 22, Dubai’s transport authority signed an agreement to operate electric driverless cars in the new city. Homeowners also get a free electric golf cart or a $10,000 subsidy toward buying another electric vehicle.

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Dubai Sustainable City

Residents can also ride the city’s electric buses for free.


Every home’s roof features solar panels.

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Dubai Sustainable City

And a 98-foot-wide park with 2,500 trees also helps reduce air pollution.

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Dubai Sustainable City

Diamond Developers is building the city in two phases.

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Dubai Sustainable City

The first phase — which opened in 2015 — includes 500 villas, 89 apartment buildings, 11 dome greenhouses that cut through the center of the development, 32,300 square feet of outdoor urban farms, and 1.16 million square feet of office and retail space.

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Dubai Sustainable City

The retail space includes fitness centers, community pools, and an equestrian centre with 32 stables.

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Dubai Sustainable City

There are also two man-made lakes with recycled water, according to The Khaleej Times.


The second phase is under construction and will feature a school, mosque, a science museum, a country club, and a mall.

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Dubai Sustainable City

Also as part of this phase, a new hotel that uses less energy than it generates will go up – the first of its kind in the Middle East, according to developers. They also claim that the city’s new research center will produce more energy than it consumes.


In recent years, the UAE has worked toward similar city-from-scratch projects. Some have been more successful at attracting residents than others. Only around 300 people live in Masdar City, Abu Dhabi, though it was planned for 40,000 residents.

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Dubai Sustainable City

Source: Business Insider


Sustainable City has garnered more interest from UAE residents (or at least those who can afford to live there, since homes start at $1 million). Approximately 1,800 people have bought homes, while around 900 rent.

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Dubai Sustainable City

Source: CNN


The metropolis signals that the UAE is trying to march toward a more sustainable future.