Company Wants To Build Giant Floating Ring City In The Center Of Dubai

Normal-looking cities are so last year.


Jack Dunhill

Social Media Coordinator and Staff Writer

clockSep 12 2022, 12:10 UTC
concept image of dubai with large ring around it
It would be quite the spectacle. Image Credit: Pictown / ZNera Space

In case you haven’t noticed, architects in the Middle East really seem to hate normal cities. The way they are so flat and spacious doesn’t seem to appeal, and so designers are hard at work coming up with new innovations to combat this pressing problem. 

Earlier this year Saudi Arabia announced plans for the Line, a massive, 170-kilometer (105-mile) city that is just 200 meters (656 feet) wide, packing in an entire city into a multi-level mirrored stretch of urban metropolis. Now, architects in Dubai have planned something even more bizarre. 


Called the Downtown Circle, envisioned by a company called ZNera Space, the radical new concept consists of a massive ringed urban area, floating 550 meters (1,800 feet) in the sky. With a circumference of 3,000 meters (9,800 feet), the ring would surround the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa. The megastructure is hoped to become a landmark for the city of Dubai as well as an engineering marvel. 

The ring would have everything from residential houses to shopping centers, as well as a central green area that would span all the way around the ring. There would be five levels to the structure, divided into smaller spaces, with each taking on a theme of commercial, residential, public, or other. 

There would be no cars, but instead, passenger pods that sweep across the Circle at 100 kilometers per hour (62 miles per hour) and offer panoramic views of the city below while doing so. 

If you thought the green area, which they call the “lung” of the Downtown Circle, would be just a fancy garden, you’d be sorely mistaken. This area would be complete with canyons, waterfalls, sand dunes, swamps, and just about every other natural habitat you can think of – it's almost as if the designers are creating a Minecraft world, not an actual city.  

green plants on white building
The "lung" would be a thriving ecosystem. Image Credit: Pictown / ZNera Space

The concept remains just that, a concept, for now. But with so many new designs, the future of Middle Eastern city architecture looks bright. It will certainly be interesting to see which, if any, designs come to fruition – long, straight city; giant floating donut city; or something else entirely. 

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