ABOUT ACADEMIC CITY
Academic City, formally known as Dubai International Academic City or DIAC, is situated along the southern outskirts of Dubai. It was officially launched in the year 2007 by TECOM Group. In the pursuit of intellectual growth and to cater to the needs of the diverse academic community, this remarkable project materialized in 2012.
This inception took place after the successful development of Dubai Knowledge Park (previously known as Knowledge Village) in the Al Sufouh area. Similar in function and objectives, the educational hub of Dubai Knowledge Park has been serving as a platform for various corporate training and professional learning institutes. On the other hand, Academic City aims to provide a common ground for schools, colleges and universities. DIAC is the largest free zone in the world solely dedicated to educational institutes.
Supporting a number of distinguished academic partners from around the globe, the ever-expanding Academic City has developed into a large, vibrant community.
IN A NUTSHELL
- Dubai’s ultimate destination for higher education
- Home to nearly 28 global universities
- Welcomes foreign investment
- Hosts several annual career fairs
- Relatively low cost of living as compared to other areas
The infrastructure of this development spans a total area of 129 million sq. ft. (around 12 sq. km.), of which, 20 million sq. ft. is reserved solely for colleges and universities.
Further 8 million sq. ft. has been allocated as a free zone sector called Dubai International Academic City or DIAC, which partially occupies the north-eastern region of the greater Academic City. Serving more than 27,000 students of around 150 different nationalities, DIAC is the world’s largest educational free trade zone dedicated to foreign higher education. This means that the universities or colleges in this sector are operating with 100% foreign ownership. By the year 2010, it hosted almost 53% of the higher education institutes in the UAE and around 23% of the universities in the Gulf region. Featuring over 500 undergraduate and postgraduate degree programmes, Dubai International Academy City has ranked among the top 10 global free zones in the Middle East.
Apart from the academic campuses, Academic City has a dedicated 3 million sq. ft. area for research and development centres. These include a green government organisation, Ministry of Climate Change and Environment, as well as the facility called International Centre for Biosaline Agriculture (ICBA).
PROPERTIES IN ACADEMIC CITY
Boasting the world’s largest concentration of international campuses, Academic City is made up of commercial projects that also include a great number of government-based educational institutes.
To facilitate students and professionals with an all-rounded experience, the development also includes on-campus as well as off-campus accommodations. There are multiple blocks of hostels near Birla Institute of Technology and Science, Pilani (BITS Pilani). Varying from studios to 1-bed and 2-bed apartments, these rental residential properties are quite reasonable. The cost of living here is relatively low compared to other major cities such as New York, Singapore and London.
The rental prices of studios in Academic City starts from AED 23k and are easily available with an average living area of 460 sq. ft. The price of 1-bed flats ranges between AED 38k and AED 46k. These are spread across an average area of 826 sq. ft.
Expected to be complete by 2020, a student housing community called The Myriad is underway in the heart of Academic City. Being built on 60,000 sq. m., the 6-storey residential complex will consist of approximately 1,820 rooms. It will include amenities such as green courtyards, swimming pools, gyms, coffee shops and a few other communal facilities.
TRANSPORTATION AND PARKING SPACES IN ACADEMIC CITY
Academic City is surrounded by four major roads: Emirates Road (E611), Manama Street (D67), Sheikh Zayed bin Hamdan Al Nahyan Street (D54) and Dubai – Al Ain Road (E66). Most areas of the city are at a practical distance from Academic City via the aforementioned roads.
There are many transport links for public transportation in Academic City. At least one bus stop is present near every campus. RTA Bus 365 operates on the Academic City route, which includes a few stops at key destinations such as Al Rashidiya Metro Station, Dubai Silicon Oasis and International City
Parking spaces in Academic City include outdoor as well as indoor facilities. Most campuses have the capacity for over 1,000 vehicles.
AMENITIES, SCHOOLS AND HEALTHCARE
Apart from a wide array of educational institutes, the amenities range from food and beverage outlets, medical facilities and a day-care nursery to miscellaneous services such as beauty salons, car rentals, a travel agency and a driving institute.
SUPERMARKETS IN ACADEMIC CITY
The widely recognized convenience store, Circle K can be found in the premise of Zayed University, close to the main road. More options are available across Dubai and Al Ain roads, such as West Zone Supermarket and Thomsun Supermarket.
However, towards the rear side of Academic City, you will find many retail stores which carry plenty of supplies for residents as well as for people on the go. These supermarkets in Academic City include All Day Minimart DIAC, All Day Shopping and another Circle K Store. There is also another branch of All Day Minimart as well as Greens Supermarket in Dubai Outsource City.
Along Sheikh Zayed Bin Hamdan Al Nahyan Street, another popular convenience store called Zoom is located by the ENOC petrol station.
Choitrams and Spinneys in the next-door community of Dubai Silicon Oasis are preferred for large shopping hauls.
CHURCHES, TEMPLES AND MOSQUES IN ACADEMIC CITY
Churches near Academic City include a few in Oud Mehta. St Mary's Catholic Church, St. Thomas Orthodox Cathedral and Coptic Church in Oud Mehta can be reached in under 20 minutes.
The Hindu temples and Sikh gurudwaras in Bur Dubai are also 20 minutes away. Worshippers can find Shiva Temple, Shree Krishna Haveli and ShrinathJi Temple, as well as the Sikh Gurudwara and the Sindhi Gurdarbar located here.
There is a mosque in Academic City which is situated in the complex of Dubai Men’s College. Other than that, the nearest facilities for Muslims include EPPCO Petrol Station Masjid and Al Waha Masjid in the adjacent Dubai Silicon Oasis development.
SCHOOLS IN ACADEMIC CITY
Learning facilities for preschoolers close to Academy City include Toddlers International, British Orchard Nursery and Fantasy Town Nursery and Play Lounge in Dubai Silicon Oasis.
Academic City also has an impressive portfolio of top-notch primary schools for foreign students. The schools in Academic City include Lycee Francais International Georges Pompidou which follows the French National curriculum and German International School Dubai following the German curriculum. Dubai English Speaking College, which offers the British curriculum also has a branch in Academic City.
We have compiled a list of international colleges and universities in Academic City as follows:
- American University in the Emirates
- The British University in Dubai
- Heriot-Watt University Dubai
- Amity University
- Szabist University
- Birla Institute of Technology and Science Pilani
- Manipal Academy of Higher Education
- Dubai English Speaking College
Some of the regional or UAE government-based campuses offering higher education include:
- Zayed University
- Al Ghurair University
- University of Dubai
- Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University (HBMSU)
- Emirates Aviation University
- Dubai Men’s College
- Emirates Institute of Banking and Financial Studies (EIBFS)
- Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Islamic Institute
Located near one of the entrances of Academic City, the campus of Zayed University is one of the largest complexes in the development. With a capacity for 4,000 students, it is constructed on a total covered area of 100,000 sq. m. Boasting an award-winning design, the Zayed University complex includes six interconnected buildings: an administration building, convention centre, dining building, library building, academic building and a gymnasium building.
CLINICS AND HOSPITALS NEAR ACADEMIC CITY
A medical facility exists amid each campus located in Dubai International Academic City.
However, there are many health centres present in Dubai Silicon Oasis, just a short drive away. These clinics and hospitals near Academic City include Medicure Polyclinic, Farha Clinics Children Centre, Magnum Gulf Medical Centre and Aster Clinic. Fakeeh University Hospital in Dubai Silicon Oasis is the closest hospital to the Academic City community.
Launched alongside Dubai International Academic City, the free zone of Dubai Outsource City (DOC) shares Academic City’s north-eastern boundary. DOC consists of a cluster of commercial and mixed-use buildings where many outsourcing companies have established their offices and call centre operations.
Adjoining the north-western boundary of Academic City, Dubai Silicon Oasis (DSO) is another free zone urban development. It houses many noteworthy building complexes such as The Apricot, Le Solarium, Silicon Gates and Axis Residence.
A little further along the Manama Street is the vibrant mixed-use community of International City, accessible in 10 minutes.
SHOPPING, DINING AND NIGHTLIFE
MALLS NEAR ACADEMIC CITY
The nearest mall-like experience for people living in Academic City is the Souq Extra located near the gate of Dubai Silicon Oasis. It is just a 2-minute drive and a short bus ride away. The 3-storey Avenue Mall is scheduled to open soon in the same neighbourhood and will serve as an ultimate shopping destination for the Academic City occupants.
Situated just about 7 kilometres away, or at a drive of 8 minutes, Dubai Outlet Mall is also one of the malls near Academic City. Dragon Mart 1 and 2 in International City can be reached in 15 minutes.
RESTAURANTS IN ACADEMIC CITY
Nestled in the DIAC complex, there is an Academic City food court that features an array of dining options. The restaurants in Academic City include Rivas Restaurant, Bombay Chowpatty, Kaake K Manousha and Fuel Up. There is also a pastry shop referred to as French Bakery and a dessert shop called Chocoberries.
You will find at least one coffee shop in every campus. Costa Coffee can be spotted at the American University in the Emirates and Emirates Aviation University campuses. Academic City food court has Filli Café. The popular Starbucks Coffee chain sits in the Zayed University complex.
Fans of Subway can head over to its chain located in Dubai Men’s College campus, whereas lovers of Popeyes can get their fried chicken cravings satisfied at the chain based in Heriot-Watt University.
Academic City occupants can also visit Dubai Silicon Oasis next door, which has more options such as Sumo Sushi and Bento, Tomato and Basilico Restaurant, Copper Kettle Restaurant and Oregano.
BEACHES NEAR ACADEMIC CITY
Since Academic City is an inland development of Dubai, commuters would have to drive for 26 minutes to access coastal areas such as Jumeirah Beach. This beach near Academic City is around 28 kilometres away.
LEISURE ACTIVITIES AND NOTABLE LANDMARKS
Although it is based around the outskirts of Dubai that is vastly a desert region, Academic City has access to a few lush, green recreational areas. One of them is Al Habtoor Polo and Resort Club that is located towards its west, off the Emirates Road. The other is Desert Palm Polo Club in Al Warsan.
If one loves nature then they can visit the bird-watching site in Academic City, near Hamdan Bin Mohammed Smart University.
OUTDOOR ACTIVITIES, FITNESS AND BEAUTY
Academic City is versatile in terms of providing learning facilities. Crystal Sports Tennis Academy, Dubai Water Polo Club, Elevation Fitness in Amity University and Zayed University Gym are few of such facilities available in Academic City.
There are numerous off-premise fitness and health clubs close to this development, such as Fitt High Performance Centre, DuGym Rhythmic Gymnastics, Body Time, Alfa Gravity and Nitro Gym.
There is an overwhelming variety of salons located nearby. A few of these include Las Meninans Beauty, Lorita Beauty Lounge, 1981 Gents Salon and Artista Men Salon in Dubailand. In Dubai Silicon Oasis, the options include Sheba Beauty Lounge, Stella Beauty Salon, Sakura Nail Spa and Black and Brown Gents Salon.
Academic City frequently holds educational or corporate events such as career fairs, workshops, competitions and creativity festivals every year. This gives students insightful exposure to different industries and helps them stay in tune with regional as well as worldwide requirements.
In 2018, Academic City hosted an Aviation Career Workshop in the Al Ghurair University Auditorium. In 2017, the Heriot-Watt University Campus held a research seminar on ‘Smart Thinking for Smart Learning: Learning and Knowledge Technologies to support Research’.
Another popular venue for the community events in Academic City is the Zayed University Convention Centre in Zayed University. Featuring an electronically-operated stage floor and many other state-of-the-art facilities, this convention centre stages an array of activities.
THINGS TO CONSIDER
Academic City provides a wide array of options in terms of educational choices but has limited residential options. There is a good chance that during peak admission season, many of the available accommodations get occupied so a prospective tenant might be left with limited options. But this is expected to get better with the completion of The Myriad student housing community and other future residential projects within Academic City.