'The Loop' supporting the 20-minute city
(Source: URB)

'The Loop' supporting the 20-minute city

Creating the right infrastructure to reduce the distance that people need to travel can be important in decarbonising transportation.

Summary: Dubai plans to create a 93 km sustainable urban highway, powered by kinetic flooring that promotes walking and cycling as primary modes of transport. 'The Loop' designed by developer URB, would be powered by 100% renewable energy and would feature several wellness hotels along its route, as well as fitness stations and sports facilities. Vertical farms would be located inside the structure to grow local produce. Residents will be rewarded for cycling or walking daily and their metrics will be monitored via an app.

Why this is important: Much of the focus on decarbonisation efforts in transportation has been on reducing fossil fuel reliance of the motor. However, reducing the requirement for motorised transportation in the first place would reduce emissions too and clearly one way to do that would be to reduce the distances required to travel.

The big theme: We are used to the traditional investment and corporate world being divided along industry or sector lines - silos really. Sustainability illustrates how interconnected themes and ultimately industries are. A holistic approach is necessary to enable an effective transition. Smart Cities are a good example of interconnected thinking. This is escalated when we consider what is needed to create truly self-sufficient and sustainable living communities. Multiple disciplines from material science, engineering, IoT, natural capital and agriculture as well as health & well-being will need to be brought to bear. Ultimately improving efficiency for all leads to lower consumption (through lower wastage) which in turn drives lower harmful emissions and improves social inclusion.

The details

Summary of a story from The National News

Leading sustainable cities developer URB has revealed designs for a climate-controlled 93km urban highway in Dubai designed to promote human-powered commuting - cycling and walking - as the primary mode of transport. 'The Loop' would run on 100 percent renewable energy powered by kinetic flooring and be enclosed in a curved glass structure. It is designed to be mixed-use with both residential and leisure facilities including those for well-being tourists.  This would include wellness hotels, greenery, pocket parks and allotments as well as vertical farms growing produce that would be used in the city.

The Loop fits into Dubai's announced plans to become a '20-minute city' with the aim of allowing residents to access all of their daily needs with no more than a 20-minute foot or bike journey. The Dubai plan aims to put 55 percent of residents within 800 metres of mass transit stations, allowing them to reach 80 percent of their daily needs and destinations.

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