Proposed 1.9-Mile Ring Around the World’s Tallest Skyscraper Would Serve as a Sustainable Skypark

Called the Downtown Circle project, the elevated ring-shaped building in Dubai would house a greenbelt as well as residential and commercial spaces.

The project isn't confirmed, but if it were to go forward, it would dramatically alter Dubai's skyline.

The project isn’t confirmed, but if it were to go forward, it would dramatically alter Dubai’s skyline.

Courtesy of ZN Era

Dubai-based design firm ZN Era Space wants to put a ring on it—it being Dubai.

Called the Downtown Circle project, the proposal envisions an 1,800-foot-tall, 1.9-mile ring around downtown Dubai, including the world’s tallest free-standing skyscraper, Burj Khalifa.

The circular structure would be held aloft by five pillars and contain private residences and commercial spaces over five floors. It would also include a continuous greenbelt that would run along the ring’s interior, called the Skypark, which, the company said, would include various habitats, from waterfalls to sand dunes. It would contain so much space that the horizontal skyscraper would effectively be a city within the city.

A mock-up of the greenbelt in the proposed skyscraper.

A mock-up of the greenbelt in the proposed skyscraper.

Courtesy of ZN Era

In an Instagram post on August 8, the company said that idea is “a response to the dilemma of how to build densely while retaining livability.”

Beyond addressing the issue of space in densely populated urban areas like Dubai, the ambitious project would also address the issue of environmental sustainability. Dubai has an ambitious and comprehensive plan, called Dubai 2040, that maps out a path for a more sustainable urban development of the city, which the Downtown Circle would strive to align with through a roof made entirely of solar panels and an electric tram system, among other more climate-friendly features.

According to Visit Dubai, the project is not confirmed—and it’s hard to say how feasible the idea would be, both from a practical or financial standpoint—but if it were to get the green light in the future, it would dramatically change Dubai’s skyline.

Bailey Berg is a freelance travel writer and editor, who covers breaking news, trends, tips, transportation, sustainability, the outdoors, and more. She was formerly the associate travel news editor at AFAR. Her work can also be found in the New York Times, the Washington Post, National Geographic, Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, the Points Guy, Atlas Obscura, Vice, Thrillist, Men’s Journal, Architectural Digest, Forbes, Lonely Planet, and beyond.
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