Dubai is back at it again, promising to build the city of the future, today. As a part of a “comprehensive strategy to exploit 3D technology to serve humanity,” the ruler of Dubai, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid, has declared by 2030, 25 percent of buildings in the city will take advantage of 3D printing technology. It sounds unbelievable, but then again, the city since its inception has been defined by outlandish proposals that test the limits of what is possible for the sake of progress or merely prestige; however, it hasn’t always gone according to plan. This time is a much more serious proposal to make use of technology in a way no world ruler has ever proposed for both the public and private sector, impacting all aspects of life in the city of Duabi.
You do have to admire the “if you build it, they will come” attitude of Dubai’s oil-rich billionaires, who turned an empty patch of desert into a 21st century metropolis. Dubai’s status in the world is sure to be bolstered by a deliberate plan to utilize 3D printing technology to its fullest potential. For one, it would almost immediately solve the human rights nightmare that has long maligned Dubai’s identity which has sometimes revealed a dubious notion of progress. 3D printing will not just dramatically reduce the time, cost of materials, and environmental impact of construction, but also reduce dependence on migrant laborers
Dubai is not only poised to consider 3D printing for the sake of ambitious, newsworthy construction projects. The proposal for 3D printed buildings is just part of an overall strategy to make Dubai a world leader in 3D printing technology. Sheikh Mohammed’s directness how that will get done is it sounds unlike any other offered by a foreign ruler thus far. Sheikh Mohammed said, “Through the 3D Printing Strategy, we aim to make Dubai a global hub for the development of this technology and a base for research and development in this area. We aim to provide the best opportunities for innovation and optimal application of this technology worldwide. Our goal is raise the level of services provided to the people and harness 3D printing for the benefit of the entire community.” The most significant takeaway from the announcement is the level of commitment to all facets of life that can possibly be impacted by 3D printing technology.
It’s always promising when a ruler begins to sound like a tech evangelist. In Sheikh Mohammand’s words you can see the hype cycle we thought might have come to the end is fully ingrained in his future outlook for Dubai. “The future will depend on 3D printing technologies in all aspects of our life, starting from houses we live in, the streets we use, the cars we drive, the clothes we wear and the food we eat,” he said. Three major sectors were mentioned that will be given greatest focus by planners: Construction, Medical Products and Consumer Products. The promise of 25 percent of building by 2030 was the most concrete projection offered, no doubt grabbing headlines around the world for what that might mean for the shape of skylines not just in Dubai, but around the world, perhaps being altered much sooner than ever imagined.