Beyond The Headlines: What happens after Expo 2020 Dubai?

Your curtains open on a timer. You rise with the sun shining — which it does most days of the year here — and a sensor detects when you’re standing under the shower, activating the water at your preferred temperature, no time or water to waste.

Your refrigerator has the right ingredients to grab breakfast and pack a quick lunch; it automatically orders your groceries when you begin to run low. As you head for the door, the lights switch off, the climate control readjusts to account for an empty flat, and the lock engages automatically behind you.

You hop on your bike and pedal to work — a flexible office space where you mingle with a few dozen other entrepreneurs, as well as some multinational corporations. The ride is 10 minutes down the road, passing a few friends on the way.

This is life in a 15-minute smart city. And this could one day be life at the Expo 2020 Dubai site, called District 2020, a reimagined neighbourhood at the site of the most recent world’s fair that experts, visitors and the mega-event planners all say is a vision for the future.

This week, as Expo draws to a close, we ask: what did we learn in the past six months about where we are heading and the choices we must make? And now, what comes next, for both the site itself and those who gathered there?

Updated: March 31, 2022, 12:11 PM