The Eye

Dubai Plans to Build the World’s First Temperature-Controlled City

A rendering of Dubai’s proposed Mall of the World, a temperature-controlled “city” that will consist of shopping, entertainment, and medical tourism facilities.

Image by Oliver Jackson. Courtesy of Dubai Holding.

This month Dubai announced grandiose plans to build “the world’s first temperature-controlled city, Mall of the World” in the Al Sufouh district.

Developers Dubai Holding estimate that the decadelong project, which does not yet have a start date, will require $6.8 billion in funding.

If all goes as planned, the self-contained shopping and entertainment complex will include a Broadway-style theater district, a pedestrian walkway modeled on Barcelona’s Las Ramblas, a 4.3-mile retail network of roads based on London’s Oxford Street, 20,000 hotel rooms, underground parking, an indoor family theme park, and a “wellness district” catering to medical tourists.

A theater district inspired by New York City’s Broadway.

Courtesy of Dubai Holding

The Mall of the World will be enclosed by glass roof domes that will produce an 8-million-square-foot temperature-controlled environment where tourists can shop till they drop without ever stepping outside into the punishing 100-degree-plus summer heat. (The glass roof domes will open to let fresh air in during cooler winter months.)

A glass roof will keep the heat out in summer and open up during cooler winter months. 

Courtesy of Dubai Holding

The concept of a temperature-controlled city is intriguing and futuristic. But there is something creepy about daring to call what amounts to a giant mall an actual city. Planned communities have always included room for commerce, but does a hermetically sealed environment designed for tourist-fueled consumption really have the right to call itself a city?

A view from the interior of the proposed Mall of the World.

Image by Oliver Doran. Courtesy of Dubai Holding.

To see more of the proposed design, check out the promotional video below: