Dubai 2030

5am. I’m awake and drawing the curtains ready to welcome in the light. The indicator on the solar film stretched across the panes of glass tells me it’s ready to start the day too. It’s too early to head out to work, like I used to when I was younger, hitting the roads before rush hour. Instead, I take a 5 minute walk down to the community exercise park where I’m supposed to meet some of my not-so-distant neighbours to catch up. Walking to the park, I browse through the community volunteer schedule on my phone. Looks like my neighbor is finally holding that furniture re-purposing class later this week. I love the community skill exchange so I’m trying to think of what I can offer in exchange. I’m offering cooking classes at the community kitchen next week and it looks like I already have a few people lined up. Better start brushing up!

Before heading home I make my way up to the rooftop garden to pick up some seasonal vegetables for breakfast- a far cry from the coffee-on-the-go and breakfast-when-I-can-find-time routine. By 8am, I’m all set to get to work. It’s going to be a scorching 50°C summer so I decide to put the sun to work and head to the closest solar metro depot. The metro stations were, when launched, above ground but to cut cooling costs, new stations were developed underground with only tracks overhead. It’s been over 15 years since the metro launch and apart from the solar upgrade, not only was a much needed network expansion carried out, heavily integrating bus and taxi services, but a rapid metro was also implemented for long distance and inter-city commuters. Luckily for me, I’m no longer a long distance commuter. The factory management has finally opted for shared office space in the city where face to face client interactions and internal meetings can be carried out and there’s always the option of working from home, video conferencing with the factory team. What was once a 2 hour ordeal of a commute is now a relaxing ride to the office where I can finally focus on work and not worry about when I need to leave to beat the evening rush. At one point we thought the city would invest completely in transport electrification, but with breakthroughs in ethanol powered cars using artificial photosynthesis which allowed for retrofitting of existing cars in the market, traditional petrol stations have been all but replaced by joint EV charging and ethanol stations. New roadways and pavements being developed to meet the growth of the city are now porous roads allowing for ground water replenishment when the rains come in winter.

By the time I get home for dinner, the house is cool despite the heat thanks to modern architecture designed with natural ventilation. Recycling post-dinner has become something of my second nature now, thanks to dedicated automated recycling chutes which make waste disposal so convenient. Gone are the days of the one large black garbage bag. The best part about the new chutes is that all food waste is collected and sent directly to organic farms. 15 years ago, organic farms were struggling because they simply did not have enough material for natural compost which had caused prices to skyrocket.

15 years ago…seems like another world.  I suppose the biggest evidence of all the changes is in the noticeable lack of smog which once clouded Burj Khalifa in the skyline. A simple tower sparkling in the sunlight tells me now we’ve come a long way.

Written for Masdar’s 2015 Engage Blogging Contest

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