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Dubai Urban Master Plan 2040

Laura von Puttkamer

In the beginning of 2021, Sheikh Mohammed launched the new Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan under the slogan Sustainability.

Dubai (photo: Christoph Schulz on unsplash)




In the beginning of 2021, Sheikh Mohammed launched the new Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan under the slogan Sustainability. One component of this plan is the Hatta Master Development Plan, which provides for the development of the Hatta tourism area. Read here what Dubai 2040 will look like and what the sheikh is planning.

Dubai’s vision for 2040

Dubai’s population expect to jump to about 5.8 million by the year 2040. Currently, the city in the United Arab Emirates has a population of 3.3 million people. In 2021, the Dubai Urban Master Plan 2040 laid the groundwork for the city’s sustainable growth over the next 20 years.

The Dubai 2040 vision maps out a comprehensive path for a more sustainable urban development of the city. This plan focuses on using available spaces and concentrating development in existing urban areas. It will provide more space for hotels and tourist activities, as well as increase the land area for commercial activities.

The Emirati city intends on maintaining its status as a hub for start-ups, international corporations, and strategic investments. With the Dubai Urban Master Plan 2040, education, and health facilities as well as public beaches will see an increase as well. The Plan places a focus on easily accessible integrated service centres and on increasing population density around key mass transit stations to raise the quality of life.

The enclave Hatta also plays an important role for Dubai 2040. It will be a hub of innovation and local start-ups that promote eco-tourism in the mountains outside Dubai’s centre.

Dubai Urban Master Plan 2040: Key Priorities

Dubai’s Urban Master Plan 2040 focuses on the following priorities:

  • Improving the efficiency of resource use
  • Developing vibrant, healthy, inclusive communities
  • Doubling green and leisure areas
  • Doubling public parts
  • Providing sustainable and flexible means of mobility
  • Fostering greater economic activities

In addition, the Master Plan aims at enhanced environmental sustainability, safeguarding the emirate’s cultural and urban heritage, and developing a more comprehensive legislation and planning governance model.



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By 2040, the emirate wants to have developed a comprehensive planning database that will support decision-making and enhance transparency in urban planning. Dubai’s Plan also looks to encourage mass transit use, walking, cycling and the flexible use of transportation.

Development and investment for the new Dubai Urban Master Plan 2040 is set to take place in five main urban centres. Three of these exist already, while two new centres will support growth and life quality. The two now centres will be the site of the Expo 2020 and the Dubai Silicon Oasis Centre. Existing urban centres are Deira and Bur Dubai, Downtown and Business Bay, and the Dubai Marina and JBR hospitality and leisure centre.

In addition, the Hatta Development Plan forms an important element of Dubai’s 2040 vision, showcasing efforts of ecotourism and sustainable investment.

The Hatta Development Plan

Hatta, an enclave of Dubai in the Hajar Mountains, is part of the Dubai Urban Master Plan 2040. The restored Hatta Heritage Village is already an important centre of eco-tourism and family activities. In October 2021, the Hatta Master Development Plan was approved by Sheikh Mohammed, Ruler of Dubai.

This Master Plan covers the four areas of wellbeing, tourism, sports and activities, and sustainability. It maps out Hatta’s development over the next two decades and thus supports the emirate’s vision for 2040.


The Hatta Development Plan aims to conserve the heritage and natural environmental of the area, to encourage mountain tourism and sport activities to transform Hatta into a tourist destination with visitors throughout the year.

In addition, the Hatta Master Development Plan sets out the goal of transforming Hatta into a local and international destination for business and investment. Specifically, young entrepreneurs who own a small or medium-sized business will be supported to implement projects that advance the sustainable economic development of Hatta. 

“Creating the best possible environment and infrastructure”

Every 20 years, there is a new Dubai Urban Master Plan. The current Plan is particularly people centric as it aims to provide diverse lifestyle and investments for citizens, residents and visitors. Sheikh Mohammed said that this is part of the journey started by the late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum in the 1960s.

“Our strategic development plans are focused on creating the best possible environment and infrastructure to enhance the community’s happiness and wellbeing and support the fulfilment of the greatest human aspirations for both our citizens and people from around the world,” he said.

The Dubai Urban Master Plan 2040 draws inspiration from international best practices to create conditions for sustainable prosperity. It aims to create a more inclusive environment that meets the needs of the city’s diverse population and enables people to realise their creative and innovative potential.

Urban development in Dubai by 2040: Growth and regeneration

This is the seventh master plan for the emirate of Dubai. Between 1960 and 2020, the city’s population has multiplied from 40,000 to more than 3 million by 2020. Today, people from more than 200 nationalities live in Dubai.

Gurminder Singh Sagoo, client director at WSP, is an urban planner who has seen many master plans in the Middle East. According to him, Dubai’s Urban Development Plan 2040 is easy to understand and relatable for people. The Plan will serve to unlock certain areas of the city, to use the potential of areas such as Hatta, and to skip the learning curve that other, older cities in the world have had.

The Master Plan’s focus on local talent and start-ups as well as on sustainable, people centric growth is a first in Dubai’s urban planning history. Since its announcement, the Dubai Urban Master Plan 2040 has undergone several iterations. It has already resulted in several new initiatives that aim to enhance economic sectors such as real estate, tourism, health, and wellbeing

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