World's first climate-controlled city
set for construction in Dubai


News: not content with playing host to the tallest building in the world, Dubai has unveiled plans for the world's first indoor city – a temperature-controlled mega resort featuring a retractable glass roof and the world's largest shopping centre.

Dubai Mall of the World

Mall of the World is the vision of property developer Dubai Holding and is conceived as a 450-hectare resort, attracting over 180 million visitors each year with the promise of a glitzy theatre district and a gigantic theme park.

At the heart of the proposal is a 750,000-square-metre shopping centre. Designed as a contained street spanning seven kilometres, this space is described by the developer as an alternative experience to the typical Dubai mall.

Dubai Mall of the World

All facilities will be covered during the stifling summer months – when temperatures can exceed 50 degrees celsius. But thanks to a retractable glass roof, they can be exposed to fresh air in the cooler winter season.

This will ensure that guests can "enjoy a week-long stay without the need to leave the city or use a car".

Dubai Mall of the World

"We plan to transform Dubai into a cultural, tourist and economic hub for the two billion people living in the region around us," said Dubai president Mohammed Bin Rashid at the project launch. "And we are determined to achieve our vision."

As well as the extensive shopping district, the proposal features a theatre district modelled on London's West End and New York's Broadway, as well as a "celebration district" designed in the vein of La Rambla in Barcelona.

Dubai Mall of the World

These will be accompanied by over 100 hotels and serviced apartment buildings, plus a health resort offering everything from general medicine to rejuvenation and cosmetic surgery.

"Our ambitions are higher than having seasonal tourism. Tourism is key driver of our economy and we aim to make the UAE an attractive destination all year long," said Sheikh Mohammed.

Dubai Mall of the World

The indoor city marks a return to the headline-grabbing projects that regularly came out of the Arab state before the recession.

Dubai has boasted the world's tallest building for over four years – the 828-metre Burj Khalifa – and is also home to the planet's largest flower garden and biggest aquarium.

Dubai Mall of the World

Dubai Holding chairman Mohammed Abdullah Al Gergawi described the project as "an innovative concept" that will "strengthen Dubai's appeal as a tourism hub".

"This project is a product of extensive research studying international and regional tourists' requirements and preferences," he said. "The objective is to create an integrated city with a plethora of best-in-class options within pleasant environments."

Dubai Mall of the World
Site plan

Mall of the World is set to be constructed along Sheikh Zayed Road, not far from the 2005-built Mall of the Emirates, which features an indoor ski slope.

  • G>S>

    All the worst aspects of urbanism condensed into one branded package. Brilliant!

    • prince

      What do u expect? It’s a commercial space! And I see the branded signage is inside the mall walkway area! Dhu??!

  • cristine


  • alvaro

    The best thing you can say is nothing.

  • egliandrei

    Brace yourselves for some huge energy consumption, people. Does the developer have any idea how much cooling this enormous space will need? Okay, landmarks and mass tourism, but what about sustainability?

  • Davey

    Wonder how many poor Indians will be roped into building it while living in squalid and dangerous conditions. Go Dubai!

  • LA_StateOfMind

    An absolute abomination.

  • Leo

    This is horrible. Maximum bad taste and zero sustainability. It would be better to work on something local than imitating New York, London and Barcelona. These people have way too much money.

    • prince

      What something local? Dust and desert? LOL…

  • Marie

    This borders on criminal.

  • Nobody, Ever.

    You had me at pseudo-random canopy members.

  • Ainslie Innes

    Decadent hyper-consumerist utopianism. Congratulations on floating our cultural integrity on the stock market.


    Can’t wait for Dubai to become the world’s biggest ghost city!

  • In the aftermath of the public uprisings, burgeoning conflicts and civil wars in the region, Dubai has become the touristic, financial, money-laundering capital of the Middle East. And now looking forward to profit further from the prospective prolongation of the misfortune of its neighbours.

    It is unlikely that an exiled veteran of a toppled dictatorship would invest his loots in anything sustainable. This is what any lazy, selfish, self-centred self-important, washed-up, forced retiree would dream up – a city with air-conditioned streets!

  • James Hunt

    It’s The Axiom from Wall-E.

  • Clichy

    Makes Las Vegas look refined!

  • Frank

    Am I the only one being more or less positive about this plan? When building an even bigger mall than Dubai Mall, this is probably the way to built it. Water, shadow and a lot of plants, just like in the traditional Arabic courtyards, help to create a pleasant microclimate. With the depletion of Dubai’s oil, they certainly search for less energy consuming solutions. And within such a big mall trams are a nice feature, aren’t they?

  • pgljr

    The glass tower will be made up of a solar system design so there won’t be energy wasted.

  • prince

    When people hear something is “the largest” they tend to think something is not sustainable. Don’t worry people, I believe this project will have some great urbanism expert, architects and other experts to make it visible.

    Also this is going to be a great spot for locals and tourists to spend most of their outdoor activities too, because the condition of weather in Dubai is really really challenging especially during summer – extremely hot temperature, gale and dust.

  • Julie G

    Filipinos, Indians, Malaysians, Indonesians… yep. You are spot on.

  • Julie G

    Does anyone else immediately think of that Biblical parable about houses built on sand when they think of Dubai? When does it all come crashing down is what I want to know. I’ve never understood the concept of excess for excess’s sake. Maybe that’s why I’ve never been to Vegas.

  • lewis

    I can’t wait to see these hyper-futuristic ideas in states of ruin in 50 years time.

  • Générique

    Kim Jung Un’s wet dream.

  • bartimaeus

    Ah yes, New World Syndrome. Nice to see it’s still rampant.

  • rush

    Sustainability? What is that?

  • rush

    Yeah prince, way to go. Who needs local when you can get the whole world with money.

  • Robbie Metherell

    Human hamster-cage.

  • Seb Miller

    These are just the first set of renderings to sell the project and start the GFA and costings. None of the buildings or forms have any design to them.

    Seriously, they are just a bunch of second-rate renders, where illustrator has had to fill in the blanks. Don’t get too upset people. As the project moves along, it will get proper design treatment with urbanism and architecture being combined. I hate the idea of another mall though, but a climate responsive and controlled city precinct would be welcome.

    Hopefully they can draw on more local Arabian design aesthetics. Having recently worked on a mega-mall project, I can guarantee the final design will not look like these early renderings, which is a good thing.