The Sustainable City is working to become the first operational Net Zero Energy city in Dubai. To achieve this, The City is providing space for residents to grow their own food using environmentally friendly practices.
Established in 2015, The Sustainable City spans 45,700 square meters and is home to over 2,700 residents. It has been recognized as ‘The Happiest Community’ by the Gulf Cooperation Council for the last three years.
The City was built with a three-tiered approach to sustainability, accounting for social, environmental, and economic sustainability. The City’s developers aim to create a self-sustaining community and promote conscious living.
It features a community park with 11 biodome greenhouses and a total capacity of more than 3,000 square meters of land for urban farming. The villas are grouped into five residential clusters, each with their own urban farm for the residents to access. The farms contain greenhouse biodomes, hydroponic and aquaponic systems. These systems work to grow foods including vegetables, dates, and figs.
The Sustainable City is also home to The Sustainable Human Project, started by landscape architect for and resident of The Sustainable City, Phil Dunn. The project, launched in November 2020, is testing sustainable living in the city over the course of a year.
“I hope my project gets people thinking about what that means and the environmental impact this has with emissions from transport and such dependency on others to get our food,” Dunn tells Food Tank.
Dunn is growing his own food in the community farms and bartering with neighbors for other essentials, creating a small-scale circular economy.
“The landscape here was designed to be productive and not just pretty to look at; it was always envisaged that it would grow a lot of the food for the residents and I wanted to put the design to the test,” Dunn says.
The City also provides incentives for residents who purchase electric cars, helping to reduce emissions within the city. Parking spaces, shaded by solar panels, provide additional energy.
It also features a Sustainable Plaza with shops, restaurants, cafes, offices, and apartments that provide the means for residents to sustain themselves and their families.
The City’s borders, which are lined with more than 2,500 trees, act as a buffer zone against pollutants and purify incoming air.
Supporting Dubai’s efforts to work towards a more sustainable future, the Ministry of Climate Change and Environment also put forward a new environmental policy that focuses on conservation, air quality, and sustainable agriculture. They aim to promote food security through urban farming practices and preserving natural resources.
“The Sustainable Human project can be a good example of action on a personal level that contributes to a larger change that can be seen at a country or global scale,” Dunn tells Food Tank. “Acting local but thinking big!”
Photo courtesy of Phil Dunn