The Agri Hub will transform Dubai into the world’s largest agritourism destination, creating more than 10,000 jobs & promoting a green economy.
In line with Dubai’s ambition of making its rural and wilderness areas the most enjoyable & beautiful places in the world; Agri Hub by URB aims to become a key tourist destination in Dubai’s countryside. Planned to be located in Dubai’s desert, the project will promote a new agritourism experience, whilst offering fun and adventurous services as well as amenities.
Agritourism, short for Agricultural tourism, is commonly defined as an activity where members of the public visit a farm for educational, recreational, or retail purposes. One of the main benefits of agritourism is the sustainability of rural communities, heritage and cultural landscapes. Agritourism provides green job opportunities thus increasing the income of local residents. It also enhances the quality of life of farmers and consumers, whilst improving the environment & enriching the local culture.
The new hub will also feature a nature & heritage conservation center, ecotourism center, an Agri-tech institute & a restorative wellness center. The conservation center will protect natural reserves & archaeological sites. The ecotourism center will offer heritage trips to ancient sites in the region, whilst also offering eco-friendly adventures such as camel riding, horse riding and desert walks. The Agri-tech institute will support farmers and provide investment opportunities for local inhabitants. The new destination will also provide health and wellbeing facilities with sports-focused activities. Medical facilities as well as a restorative wellness center will also promote medical tourism.
Baharash Bagherian, CEO of URB, explains the significance of the project in transforming Dubai’s rural and suburban districts into popular places of interest: “Dubai’s rural and agricultural rich communities are best positioned to become a global benchmark for agritourism.
Agri Hub is a highly attractive and activity-rich environment, which will transform Dubai into the world’s best rural visitor attraction in the world. It will provide spaces for local farmers to sell their products directly from their farms, whilst offering a new eco-friendly shopping, dining & edutainment experience for visitors. Beyond becoming a new tourism experience in the countryside and wilderness of Dubai, the project will also promote greater health, wellbeing, and prosperity for rural local inhabitants.”
The typology of the hub provides visitors with a unique agritourism experience whilst giving them a sense of being outside in nature. Agri Hub is intertwined with a unique landscape which will be publicly accessible and serves as a functional utility as well as offering outdoor leisure facilities, camps & lodges. The landscape is also integrated with biosaline agriculture, renewable energy production & outdoor facilities for visitors and local residents.
The project is designed to maximize wellbeing & minimize impact on the environment. The semi-subterranean typology provides passive cooling benefits, thus increasing the energy efficiency of the building. The bioclimatic internal spaces provide thermal comfort and wellbeing benefits whilst giving the feeling of being outdoors.
Direct bus services from major stations will also enhance the connectivity to the center, which is also planned to offer environmentally friendly transit systems such as dedicated cycling & electric buggy tracks. Some of the project’s environmental features include 100% renewable energy, 100% water recycling and onsite zero waste management.
Ultimately, it will serve as an innovative blueprint for decarbonized rural tourism hubs of the future.
Agritourism is a combination of agriculture & tourism. It is a rapidly growing industry that diversifies the agricultural economy of producers with tourism to enhance their economy; by attracting visitors to such areas for the purposes of entertainment, leisure, shopping, and education.
Agritourism brings many benefits to rural communities by combining tourism and agricultural industries together. It provides various economic, educational and social benefits to tourists, farmers and local communities. For example, it provides additional income for local farmers by bringing consumers directly to their farms, whilst offering additional services to enhance their experience. It enhances & diversifies the tourism sector whilst providing educational opportunities to the public. It allows consumers to gain knowledge about the source and agricultural methods used in their foods.
In the past several decades, rural communities have faced many challenges to traditional farming economies such as migration, rising costs, development pressures & climate change. These challenges have forced farmers to look for opportunities in diversifying their economies; by integrating agricultural tourism activities. Agritourism generates additional income for producers, whilst fostering a deeper connection between people and the sources of their food at a more local level. It also allows farmers to gain the full value of their products through direct marketing to consumers.
Agritourism also promotes ecotourism by contributing to rural communities, providing job opportunities whilst conserving their heritage and environments. The Agri Hub will create more than 10,000 jobs in the Agritourism industry of Dubai.
The Agri Hub will promote Ecotourism in Dubai’s rural areas with minimal impact to the environment. With various eco-edutainment, eco-leisure, eco-retail & eco-adventure activities, the new hub will provide tourists with the highest level of eco-friendly experience, whilst providing various jobs for local inhabitants.
Ecotourism has the potential to create beneficial effects on the environment by contributing to environmental protection and conservation. Ecotourism can raise awareness of environmental values through educational programs and experiences. It can also serve as a tool to protect natural areas and increase their economic importance.
Ecotourism provides more than environmental benefits, such as economic and socio-cultural benefits. Ecotourism creates job opportunities for locals, creating a more diversified economy. Ecotourism can also help preserve the region’s heritage and provide greater interaction with native people. As such the Nature and Heritage conservation center at Agri Hub will conserve natural heritage, biodiversity and local ecosystems with an aim to provide the same level of benefits to future generations.
The Agri-tech institute will support the agricultural economic development of rural areas in Dubai, whilst promoting the diversification of farm-related activities. The Agri-tech institute will create a collaborative ecosystem between horticulture, agrifood industry and knowledge institutes to work together in research and innovation. The objective is to increase the production in agriculture locally whilst decreasing the use of resources such as water and fossil fuels.
Robotics, computer vision, sensor physics, geothermal engineering, artificial intelligence, crop modelling, and genetics are some of the diverse fields where new technologies will be employed, tested, and integrated at the institute. These innovations will be tested and developed to maximize the productivity and efficiency of food production, whilst minimizing environmental impacts.
The Agri-tech institute will foster public private partnerships; to address societal and industrial demands in the agricultural sector whilst promoting innovation. The key mission of the Agri-tech institute is to drive the transition of agriculture in the region to a sustainable future. Ultimately, the purpose of the institute is to improve the health of the people, environment, and economy of Dubai and beyond through innovation in food & agricultural science.
Agri Hub will be home to a new Nature & Heritage Conservation Centre, which aims to be recognized as a global leader in the fields of climate change, community conservation and rural ecotourism development. The mission of the conservation center is to demonstrate that traditional communities can lead a highly successful conservation initiative.
The Nature Conservation Center will also promote the conservation and sustainable use of biodiversity in Dubai’s Rural areas. The center will hire experts on site to provide the technical capacity for conserving biodiversity in Dubai and the surrounding areas. The conservation center will work with the public and private sectors, NGOs, research institutions, individual experts, and volunteers, carrying out major studies of Dubai wilderness ecosystems. It will also offer research facilities, educational programs, and investment in local communities. It will thus enable local people to become guardians of their own natural heritage.
The conservation center will also monitor and control any potential impacts of agricultural tourism in rural areas, thus becoming a living lab for the region. It will develop a strong scientific basis for conservation, promoting the use of conservation biology principles and tools.
Agri Hub will be fully powered by 100 percent renewable energy. It will serve as an innovative blueprint for decarbonized rural destinations of the future. As a net zero carbon destination, all tenants of the Hub will enroll in a tenant zero carbon engagement program, which aims to help tackle emissions collectively by raising awareness & optimizing operational performance towards net zero.
Onsite urban farming will provide food to table for the various F&B outlets. Onsite renewable solar farms will offset the energy demand of the building. The climate-controlled atriums are highly energy efficient, which are cooled by evaporative cooling using 100% fresh air.
The semi-subterranean typology provides passive cooling benefits, thus increasing the energy efficiency of the building. The bioclimatic internal spaces provide thermal comfort and wellbeing benefits whilst giving the feeling of being outdoors. The design of the unique building also uses advanced passive and active sustainable practices with an aim of reducing the overall energy demand of the building.
At a building level, sensors play a key role. Indoor lighting and temperature can automatically be adjusted based on various variables. These variables include the number of occupants inside the buildings, the time of day as well as exterior weather and light conditions. The Hub will have embedded sensors to detect motion, temperature, noise, moisture, fire, smoke etc… to provide real-time data and help improve operational efficiency, safety and security.