City dwellers will soon work, study and shop remotely, Dubai summit hears

Experts predict end of crippling traffic as smart services reduce need for personal movement

Future smart cities around the world should lead to less movement on the roads.

Activities such as working, studying and shopping will be done remotely, speakers at a Dubai forum said on Wednesday.

Tech-driven cities would mean businesses could be mobile and virtual, allowing them to go to their customer or employee, instead of people moving daily to buy items to work, study or shop.

At the Future Innovation Summit in Dubai, a panel session called ‘The role of technology in sustainable future smart cities' discussed what such smart cities would resemble.

Matt Moeller, a business and growth coach in Dubai popularly known as Matt Mo CVO, said “we should not need to go to so many different places to get things done”.

“Today, we need a car or public transport to go to work, school or the supermarket,” he said.

“This needs to become a more close environment, for example, shops don’t need to have so many branches, restaurants don’t need to be in every corner of the city. You can have mobile units.”

He said the UAE has “a lot of benefits” over other countries when it comes to building smart cities because “there is a lot of space to build things”.

Dubai has a vision of becoming a futuristic city that would include the Hyperloop — high-speed transportation that could significantly reduce traffic and travel time — autonomous cars on the road and even the possibility of flying cars.

A display at Museum of the Future, which shows what the city could look like in the year 2071, includes these features as well as rockets lifting off from Dubai deserts.

The building, a silver structure decorated in Arabic script, opened to the public in February and is the world's first "future" museum. It was designed to inspire discussions and ideas of what the future could be like.

Prof Maurits van Rooijen, a socio-economic historian and geographer, said people should be “more selective with their movements”.

He also said smart cities should be able to serve people of determination.

“It's a sign of civilisation when we really understand that people have different needs — not just special needs, but different needs,” he said.

“And those who need extra care really are being taken care of in the communities. I think this is something that you would really highlight as something very important here, not just for you personally but also that society understands is how important it is."

Dubai Urban Plan 2040 - in pictures

Updated: May 12, 2022, 3:51 AM