Dubai Development, Masterplanning, Urban Planning Middle East, Architecture

Dubai Development Issues UAE

Building / Cityscape Designs in UAE : Masterplans Information

15 Jun 2009

Dubai Urban Development

Urban Planning Design in UAE

If Le Corbusier compared 1920’s Paris to capillaries without arteries what would he say about the strange occurrence of Dubai? In his examinations in towards a new Architecture, he prophesizes the imminent death of a city that grows without geometric principals as structure. What then of a city that begins with no pretense towards classical urban city plans, but solely structured by the whimsy of wealth and commerce? In the image that a city is a living breathing thing, then is Dubai not an attempt to create a corpse then see if life will become imbued as an after thought?

As a gateway between the east and the west and attempted to cater to the trade industry through the creation of large ports and free zone created to encourage businesses to relocate. New York, Paris, Tokyo or London: these cities took hundreds of years in the making. Dubai took 25 years.

The majority of articles on Dubai can be placed into two main groups, those who proclaim instability that will lead to eminent doom for Dubai. There are those who contend that the current economic crisis is just teething for the young one. Both are linier observations. As part of the UAE Dubai may benefit from support from it’s oil bearing kin and hopefully sober up a bit from its blatant little man’s complex. But I think that it will be more likely that fate will land somewhere uncomfortably in between. Where the arrival of a middle class could also aid in the stabilization process.

However, with Hundreds of literal human deaths from jaywalking accidents alone, Dubai’s current transportation issues illustrate a much greater problem, a head scratching lack of forethought. Although, It has had the benefit of the latest construction techniques and materials it simply falls short of real grandeur when viewed in the more general light of human use and public space.

Though it is befallen a great number of growing pains, does the state of its youth, mean that there is still opportunity to be seized. Can infrastructure still be put into place that it so desperately needs to transition from a dead city to a living one? A proposed vast public transport system and pedestrian paths signifies that the answer could be a qualified yes, but there is still a far way to go. The out come many seem even less favorable when compared to some of the other rising cities of the east which aim further down the line for results.

In contrast is OMA’s Rak gateway, which holds all of the characteristics of Dubai, as it is the fourth largest city in the UAE. However it is nearly the polar opposite to the development of Dubai. With limited traffic, two high rise zones, and a square 2.1 km, that will contain over 200,000 people thus following the reintroduction of density. Trends of the past decade of flocking to the city have only increased. Reiterated by Norman Foster, in his lecture on the green agenda states, as density increases the consumption of energy decreases. For the new city the argument that density is a bad thing is now being over turned in favor of a new outlook.

There is an opportunity all over Asia, to learn from the lessons of the western city. It would seem that the east has decided to take advantage of this knowledge. The Implementation of other densely populated eco towns, in Dongtan and Abu Dhabi, signify a more holistic approach to design and context. Proving that in the whirlwind of growth there can still be structure. But weather this trend is sincere in it’s promises be a test of time, much as with Dubai.

On a positive light Dubai’s emergence could represent something grander in scope. The great value placed on design as a factor has to be in some context of importance here. One glance at Hadid’s proposed opera house is proof that icons in architecture cannot just rely on grandeur of scale.

Dubai Development Article by Julia Rutherford, 2009 for e-architect

Location: Dubai, UAE

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