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Can a huge, former exhibition site be turned into a city? Dubai wants to find out

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For six months, Dubai hosted Expo 2020, a global celebration of more than 190 countries, showcasing their innovations and cultures. Now can the sprawling 1,000-acre site be transformed into a city of the future?

Expo City Dubai, former site of international exhibition Expo 2020 Dubai, faced significant problems during the pandemic, not least a 12-month delay to its opening. Now, a new challenge awaits — to turn a 1,000-acre site into a functioning city.

Construction costs for the event were estimated at about $7 billion by EY in 2019.

“The investment really wasn’t for the event. The investment was for building the city,” said Nadia Verjee, chief of staff for Expo 2020 Dubai.

The planners of Expo City Dubai are hoping that modern technology and a focus on sustainability will be attractions.

Tim Van Vrijaldenhoven is an expert in urban planning. He has worked on large-scale infrastructure and transportation projects, such as the construction of the Abu Dhabi airport in the mid-2000s.

“It’s a huge challenge. Because if we look at the history of the World Expo, they tend to be become white elephants because of the huge impact it has on the city, because the World Expo sites are enormous,” Van Vrijaldenhoven said.

“After the event is gone, it’s very difficult to find a new function for that site,” he said. 

 So, will people want to live and work in Expo City Dubai? Watch our video above to learn more. 

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