The masterplan designed by AECOM envisages seven distinct districts: the Cultural District, Saadiyat Marina, Saadiyat Beach, South Beach, Saadiyat Park, The Wetlands, and Ecopoint. With more than 3 million m2 of office space and marinas for 1000 boats, the Island is intended to be home to more than 160,000 people, a scale of population similar to Chang Mai in Thailand, Oxford in the UK, Dijon in France and Hartford in the USA. A key challenge for this culture-led civic infrastructure has been to forge economic, social and environmental sustainability through culture-based tourism, says AECOM, along with job generation and enhancement of local natural
The Cultural District, at 245 hectares the world’s largest single mixed-use development in the Arabian Gulf, clusters global cultural brands in a new, multi-layered district. With a grand canal weaving through its heart, it will have the same density as central Paris and aspires to follow the models of other cultural quarters internationally, with facilities for the creative industries (for 30,000 residents), luxury accommodation, live/work artists’ studios, theatres, cinemas, bars and restaurants along with the 137,160m2 Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Museum (architect Frank Gehry), the Louvre Abu Dhabi (Jean Nouvel), a Performing Arts Centre (Zaha Hadid), the Maritime Museum (Tadao Ando) and the Zayed National Museum (Foster + Partners) due for completion in 2017.