The Dubai Waterfront (now known as just Waterfront) was expected to become the largest waterfront and largest man-made development in the world.
The project is a conglomeration of canals and artificial archipelago; it is planned to completely occupy the last remaining Arabian Gulf coastline of Dubai. It was projected to consist of a series of mixed use zones, including commercial, residential, resort, and amenity areas. Run by the Dubai Waterfront Company, the project is open to foreign investment with its real estate developer, Nakheel, owning a 51% stake.
Upon its full completion, Waterfront is planned to add more than 70 km to Dubai's coastline, covering an area of 1.4×109 sq. ft. (330-acre, or 134-hectare) with water and land developments. It is expected to house an estimated population of 1.5 million people.
Located near Al Maktoum International Airport, and with direct access to Sheikh Zayed Road, Jebel Ali Freezone and Abu Dhabi, Dubai Waterfront would be fully accessible on a local and international scale.
Waterfront City is fashioned after Manhattan, with a compact grid system of skyscrapers around a central park, designed to create neighborhoods within the office towers. With 100 different waterfront developments and more than 150 master-planned communities, Waterfront will create "a world-class destination for residents, visitors and businesses in the world's fastest growing city”, according to Nakheel.
The hub of the development would be along the shoreline, stretching in-land to offer a range of residences, commercial districts and industrial areas, with a number of major tourist attractions and leisure amenities. Extending from the coastline into the Arabian Gulf would be a series of connected islands featuring villas and high-end accommodation.
The plan consists of 10 key areas including Madinat Al Arab, expected to become the new downtown and central business district of Dubai. Madinat Al Arab was developed by an international consortium of architects, planners and urban developers featuring resorts, retail, commercial spaces, public spaces, a broad mix of residencies and an integrated transport system including light rail and a road network.
Other key zones include Al Bardah, Al Ras, Corniche, The Riviera, The Palm Boulevard, The Peninsula, Uptown, Downtown, Boulevard, and The Exchange.