Exploration of Place – JBR Walk, Dubai

Posted by: Scott Naples | 02/08/2018

By Scott Naples

While on a recent trip in Dubai, I had the opportunity to tour JBR Walk.  This is a well done project and perhaps one of the best beach promenades in Dubai.  As planners and architects, we enjoy the opportunity to explore new places and reflect on the contributing factors in a successful development.  As I arrived at this location, I was greeted with a vibrant residential and commercial district.  There is a distinct separation between vehicles and pedestrians, and despite the large volume of traffic in and out of the site, it felt mainly pedestrian oriented.  Sidewalk cafés were filled with patrons and the outdoor seating areas flowed into the large plaza spaces.  Although there wasn’t an event at the time, it was easy to see that these spaces could accommodate large festivals and even concert events.

The walk is located on the beach side adjacent to the Dubai Marina.  The high-rise buildings offer a dramatic backdrop to this district.  Along the half-mile promenade there are numerous F&B/Retail stores, shaded seating areas, and kiosks.  The eclectic mix of contemporary architecture and use of materials is a nice contrast to the monolithic towers in the backdrop


4 distinct zones:

The Beach: (75m depth x 650m length) plenty of water sports activities, sun bathing, umbrellas and cabanas, children’s play areas and even an amphitheater.

The Promenade:  650M meandering walk along the beach which is flanked on the west end by a grass play area and children’s park and on the other end by another grass play area/ amphitheater with tiered seating. The salmon colored walk is made out of rubber which makes for an enjoyable walking experience.  Along the beach side of the walk, there is an assortment of kiosks, with handmade crafts and clothing items, food trucks, and outdoor activities.  As you shift away from the promenade, there is a decorative hard-paved strip which offers a nice transition from the beach promenade to the retail and F&B zones.  Here you will find liner F&B with grade separated outdoor cafes which provide overlook views towards the ocean.  This also provides a nice sense of privacy for those enjoying an afternoon lunch on the patio.

The Mall: Sandwiched between the promenade and the high-rise buildings of the Dubai Marina, is a single story outdoor mall.  Each of the buildings here are unique in their eclectic contemporary design and use of materials.  The buildings themselves are formed into clusters around a common open space element.  Each courtyard has a mixture of F&B and retail uses with some provision of outdoor seating.

Vehicle Access and Dubai Marina: The high-rise residential towers of the Dubai Marina form the back drop to this district.  At the base of these towers is an impressive podium (650m long) lined with additional eateries and retail stores.  The vehicular access to JBR Walk is a one-way loop which enters from the east roundabout and provides a peekaboo to the beach.  There is 30m X 175m plaza which separates the F&B from the street.  This provides the opportunity for outdoor cafes and events to spill out into the plaza.

Overall, the JBR walk in Dubai is a spectacular place to visit. It offers a unique experience unlike anything else in Dubai with a wide range of activities.  Whether you want to simply relax on the beach, take a stroll down the boardwalk, shop, eat, or take in the scenery, this place has something for everyone.