Note*: The following work is an interpretation of the author’s perspective upon the future project District 2020 Dubai, and thereby the incidents portrayed are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual events is entirely coincidental.

As the first World Expo happening in the United Arab Emirates, Expo 2020 Dubai will be opening its doors to welcome every corner of the globe at its doorstep, bringing everyone together to reimagine the forthcoming. It will lay out visually pleasing, intellectually apprising and emotionally driven 182 days, as more than 200 participants – including nations, multilateral organizations, businesses, and educational institutions, as well as millions of visitors – create the largest and most diverse World Expo ever. It is built with the intentions of a meaningful and long-term legacy in mind, however, what draws me in is what comes after – District 2020, a global community that may very well revolutionize the concept of futuristic cities.

Looking at the blueprints of the human centric and sustainable city, one gets more than an idea of what’s to come long after Expo 2020 closes its doors. Curating an innovation ecosystem driven by an ambition to build a place where a mixed community can thrive to its fullest human potential, with the means at their disposal, District 2020 is already taking steps no man would have thought could even come into play. As such, it is only natural that my mind has been running in anticipation, already experiencing what’s to come on the plains of curiosity and wondrous awe.
Knowing that the lifestyle aimed for in this vast ecosystem will be that of an equitable and productive one, both for businesses and individuals, I can experience a welcoming, vibrant environment around me. To know your place of work is at walking distance, I could simply walk on the pedestrian-friendly streets, the cobblestones under me a satisfying sound. I gaze around me as everyone would be sharing diverse yet similar lives, an echo of us all together. The urban residential lifestyle neighboring me as I saunter through, low-rise buildings giving a sense of humility, The tranquil greenery of the local parks, my abode. And the contentment of knowing that around the corner would be the urban markets of vibrant fresh goods and diverse cultural delicacies, the fragrance already reaching me.

Photo by: Samuel (Unsplash)

Having always had a love of history, and the nostalgic love for the antiquity that comes with it, there is a personal joy in knowing that this vast futuristic ecosystem harbors the same sentiment as it houses world-class education, academic and research facilities. Museums I know I’d love to get lost in the halls of, different cultures and lives being played, showing me how exactly this present advanced physical and digital infrastructure came into play. I would always have something to explore, eyes wide trying to drink everything in, and yet always wanting to see more, knowing already somewhere around me, a new layer is about to drop and deliver just that.
Perhaps the most anticipated visit would be to the center of it all, the one place undoubtedly to provide ample leisure– Al Wasl Plaza – an iconic event and community destination. To be standing at the heart of it, gazing at the prodigious crystal dome high above and around you decorated in hive patterns, the night sky making the stars glitter upon it. A placid, contented warmth washing over you as you keep gazing up, because it can’t be helped. The water fountains shooting up, children’s laughter accompanying it as I watch the vibrant and rich community pulse with life. And all I see then is that despite this city being the hub of global business and collaborative innovation, this is what it aims for at the end. This rewarding sensation of connection and euphoria that only comes next to it, shared under the same night sky that the forefathers of this nation once sat under. I wonder then, as I take in the fragrance of the floral garth behind me surrounding this dome, if these people share this same sentiment in this given moment. A smile crosses my face, already knowing the answer, as nostalgia gazes at the present, as nostalgia gazes at prospection.

Artwork by Tim De Leon

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