What the Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan Means for Real Estate Investment

Georges El Hachem - March 28, 2021

The recently announced Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan is a testament to the vision HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum has for Dubai over the course of the next 20 years.

This plan is focused on implementing a clear strategy, with the sole aim of improving the quality of life for residents and visitors alike within the Emirate, cementing its position as one of the world’s most desirable destinations. It will secure Dubai’s position as a “must visit” global tourist hub, while keeping it one of the most exciting cities in the world to live and work in.

The Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan celebrates traditional Emirati heritage, as well as establishing a platform from which to launch Dubai as a true city of the future. The city has already shown its amazing capacity to innovate – having grown exponentially over the past 40 years or so. While it has already established itself as one of the world’s best cities to live and invest in, the plan for 2040 and its future growth is set to take the city to another level in this regard.

The main areas of focus within this plan is to redefine the districts within the city, and develop them as specialty hubs.

  • Dubai Marina and JBR will be at the forefront of tourism and entertainment.
  • Business Bay and Downtown will become the centralized location of the city’s thriving financial hub.
  • Bur Dubai and Deira will remain the traditional heart of the city.

As such, what does this mean for the property scene in Dubai as we move into the next phase of the city’s development?

World’s Best City to Live In

The Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan will improve upon the existing infrastructure and amenities of the city, as well as developing new hubs and urban centers in currently less developed areas. Dubai currently has a population of approximately 3 million residents. As part of the master plan, the city aims to almost double its population by 2040, taking it up an estimated 5.8m residents. This will add to an already rich and diverse economy, all the while increasing the need for quality, affordable and well positioned residential developments.

The march towards making Dubai the best city in the world to live in includes flexible urban planning laws that covers multiple levels of infrastructure, all focused on long term efficiency and sustainability – which also address the needs of all current and future residents. The aim is to create a city that is interconnected through seamless transport links, offering sustainable means of mobility across the city between the various communities, business hubs and entertainment hotspots. By the conclusion of this master plan the aim is to have over 55% of the population living within 800 meters of a viable means of public transport.

In order to attract talented professionals from all over the world, and create an environment to develop homegrown talent to keep Dubai at the forefront of innovation, the land allocated to educational and health facilities will be increased by 25% across the city.

Boosting Economy and Tourism

Tourism has been and will continue being one of the main drivers of the economy in the UAE, and plans are being put in place to ensure that this sector will continue to prosper. Land allocated for hotels and tourist activities will increase by 134%, further enhancing Dubai’s push to become the top global tourist destination by 2040. At present, Dubai welcomes about 21 million visitors each year, this number is expected to continue rising every year as the city prepares itself for such significant development and growth.

In a recent move aimed at promoting the ease of tourism to the UAE the introduction of multiple entry visit visas for tourists of all nationalities will allow visitors to apply for the first-of-its-kind five-year visa, which will further boost the demand for short-term rentals, which offers a great returns to investors.

Furthermore, as part of the Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan land has been allocated, and strategies have been put in place, to increase a wider variety of economic activities in order to attract investors, international companies, start-ups and talents from all over the world.

The recent updates to remote working, retirement and citizenship visa allocations will continue to boost the economy and open up new opportunities for professionals looking to relocate or invest in Dubai. All of this in turn will continue to attract more people to the city in search of long-term rental residences.

To enhance the overall quality of life and increase the happiness and wellbeing of its residents, all the while making facilities and amenities constantly attractive to tourists, the Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan will look to increase the length of public beaches by 400%, increase the amount of recreational space and public parks by 105% and ensure that nature reserves and rural natural areas account for up to 60% of the emirate’s total area.

Urban Centers

As mentioned in the introduction, a large portion of the planning focuses investment in five main urban centers, such as Downtown and Business Bay, Dubai Marina and JBR and Bur Dubai and Deira. This makes owning a property within these areas a huge added value on any current or future investments.

With the Dubai EXPO 2020 site awaiting its grand opening this year, and looking forward to welcoming 190 participating countries and millions of visitors from across the globe in the latter part of 2021, this is set become another foundational urban center in the future. The Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan will continue to promote exhibitions and events at EXPO as well as Dubai Silicon Oasis Center, which will act as an incubator of knowledge, innovation, and advanced technologies to attract talents and minds.

It is apparent that the economy as well the demographics of the population are maturing, and with the new local laws being introduced, expats are offered opportunities like never before. This pioneering plan will bring new opportunities to homeowners looking to retire in Dubai, as well to those looking to make investments likely to generate high regular rental yields.


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The Author

Georges El Hachem - Director, Commercial

Georges joined Select Group as Commercial Director in 2020. He has over 18 years’ experience in destination management and expert knowledge across an array of industries including hospitality, tourism and MICE. He has a deep understanding of the GCC, and the buying behavior of the international visitors to the region.