Dubai Reefs: An update on the world’s largest ocean restoration megaproject

The project will include a floating living lab, one billion corals and 100 million mangrove trees.

We love a megaproject at FACT. So, we were excited to hear about Dubai Reefs. URB, a leader in sustainable cities, is behind the new megaproject, which aims to be the world’s largest ocean restoration and ecotourism project. 

First unveiled in May 2023, the Dubai Reef project has received an update from H.H Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum during the COP28 summit. Dubai’s Crown Prince officially launched the project, with the Dubai Media Office sharing the details on X, the social media platform formally known as Twitter.

Dubai Reefs will include a community for marine research and a sustainable floating living lab. As coastal cities like Dubai are at risk of rising sea levels, this hopes to address the issue. The site which will begin to take shape in 2024 will include educational, hospitality, residential, retail and research facilities. At the heart of Dubai Reefs is marine research, which aims to protect Dubai’s coastal and marine environment. The project plans to build a diverse artificial reef, which covers over 600 square kilometres of coastline from Palm Jebel Ali to Dubai Islands. Plus, it will be home to more than one billion corals and more than 100 million mangrove trees.

Dubai Reefs

The comprehensive development plan, consisting of four phases, aims to generate over 400,000 cubic meters of coral reefs by deploying more than 20,000 reef modules. The objective is to enhance the fish and biomass population by a factor of eight over the next decade. Additionally, this initiative is anticipated to capture approximately seven million tonnes of carbon annually, equivalent to the emissions of 1.5 million cars.

If you’re looking for a travel experience with a difference, then you’re in luck. Visitors will be able to explore Dubai Reefs. There’ll be floating eco-lodges, powered by 100 per cent renewable energy. Dubai Reefs will also contain ocean farming, a climate-friendly food production technique, in addition to wave farms that produce additional clean energy for Dubai.

Dubai Reefs

Baharash Bagherian, CEO of URB, explains: “The health of our cities is intrinsically tied to the health of our oceans. The ocean is the source of life controlling everything. Given that everything on our planet is connected, a healthy ocean is a healthy city. Our ocean will be entirely different by the end of the century if we don’t take action today.”

Dubai Reefs

“We need an entrepreneurial spirit in the planning of coastal cities and the types of infrastructure as well as developments that are linked to the ocean. As an innovative coastal city, Dubai is best positioned to lead such a transformation. Dubai Reefs aims to become a blueprint for ocean living, whilst mitigating the impacts of climate change.”

We can’t wait. 

GO: Visit for more information. 

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