Stunning images show a nearly 200 square kilometer ‘living floating laboratory’ with a billion corals and luxury eco-resorts under construction in Dubai.
This floating living laboratory that The cliffs of Dubai (Dubai Reefs) has been called, it consists of a series of interconnected islands that will host humans in luxury ecotourism residences, surrounded by millions of mangrove trees.
Beneath the islands will be an artificial reef ecosystem, created using 3D printing and other methods, that will provide a home for a billion corals, as well as turtles, fish and other marine life.
Dubai Reef will be located near the city’s coast in the Persian Gulf, where there are already man-made islands and luxury hotels and bars.
Although these images are currently only the concept of the building, its creators could build the first part of the rocky city by the second half of this decade; Although the estimated cost of the entire project is likely to be hundreds of millions of dollars.
The ambitious project is led by URB, a Dubai-based real estate company that describes itself as a global leader in the development of sustainable cities.
Dubai is only one of the cities that is under threat due to global warming and ice melting due to rising sea levels and floods. Dubai Reefs offers its residents a form of flood protection as the structures rise above sea level.
This living laboratory also provides a natural defense for areas adjacent to Dubai against coastal erosion or storm surges, as it protects the land from powerful waves, while Dubai’s own coastline benefits from ‘coastal regeneration’.
More than 100 million mangrove trees on islands, as well as tidal marshes and seagrasses, absorb and store more carbon per unit area than terrestrial forests.
Technologies such as 3D printing and Biorock, an engineering material similar to cement, will be used to build an underwater ecosystem that will serve as a home for marine life.
According to URB, since 3D printing can create different shapes and textures that closely resemble coral reefs and natural underwater landscapes, it is ideal for this purpose.
Above the water level, Dubai Reefs provides space for eco-lodges as well as space for residential, hospitality, retail, educational and research facilities.
Instead of “land proteins” like red meat, which produce 10 times more carbon dioxide, residents are fed a diet rich in sustainably produced fish and seafood.
The URB claims that some of the facilities at the site offer “extremely therapeutic and emotional benefits” to those who visit. It includes an underwater “forest bath” similar to the Japanese practice known as Shinrin Yoku, where one relaxes among the trees of the forest. According to URB, instead of trees, practitioners will be among corals.
Dubai Reefs will also host the largest oyster farm in the region, providing benefits to the environment, water quality and the local economy. A single oyster can filter 50 gallons of water a day, meaning cleaner water, as well as providing food and habitat for other marine life.
URB did not reveal when the artificial reefs in Dubai will open. Projected costs have also not been disclosed, although the construction of a similar “floating city” in Korea, due to be completed by 2025, was estimated at around $200 million.