1/13/2012

Landscape-making: The World, Dubai, UAE: Service-world

'Our World is not a political world,' was the explanation given by one of the representatives from Nakheel, the company responsible for the 300 man-made islands, also know as The World. For a decade so, Dubai is embarked upon a project to create an artificial archipelago of islands. The project is nearing completion. Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum is behind this project.
The World, Dubai, UAE. Photo credit: Jumana El-Heloueh/Reuters. Originally appeared on The Atlantic Cities.

Dubai, a city and emirate in the United Arab Emirates, with an average high around 23 degrees Celsius by winter, and high around 40 degrees Celsius by summer, an annual rainfall of 150 mm. Not a place to envisage green areas. Its population is of 3,410,737 for the Metropolitan Area, and 2,262,000 for the Emirate, for an area (Emirate) of 4,114 sq. km, and a density of 408.18 pp/sq. km.

Selected reading: Shumon Basar (ed.), Cities from Zero, AA Publications, London, 2007.

A cluster of islands artificially created — 300 islands —, nine by seven kilometers, will lie about 4 kilometers off the coast of Dubai. Denmark, Europe, Asia, North America, Dubai (itself)…, each of these islands have a name.

These islands are akin to brands, dreamlands, marketable islands, better still: a theme park. Paraphrasing Fati A. Rifki and Amar A. Moustafa (see: Rifki and Moustafa, "Madinat Jumeirah and the urban experience in the private city," Volume 12: Al Manakh, 2007), The World will be clusters of islands of simulation made up of manipulated landmass. As Hamza Mustafa, Nakheel's General Manager for The World development project, said in a conference in 2007, "Dubai has positioned The World as its most exclusive development ever." (See The World Press Conference, in Volume 12: Al Manakh, 2007).

Terraforming has been chosen for its unlimitated series of options for development. This technique allows for reshaping land. As Luis Ajamil (The World Press Conference, Volume 12: Al Manakh, 2007) points out:
The World, Dubai, UAE. Photo credit: Jumana El-Heloueh/Reuters.  Originally appeared on The Atlantic Cities.

You've buying a plot that includes the water up until the water of the adjacent island, and each island has been carefully set. So when a developer plans their community, if they want to have, say, a cove here and suround it with beautiful houses, they can do that. Or if they want to build a marina, or fill part of a bay in, and do something else in the middle, they can do that. Each developer will have the flexibility within certain guidelines, so that they don't affect the surrounding islands and navigation. In a way, you can create your own island — Hamza calls this terraforming. You couldn't ask for a better situation. It's very easy to shape, yet it's very strong.
The World Land Use Density, Dubai, UAE. Originally appeared on The World.


This man-made archipelago will provide luxury needs for its dwellers. The World is announced to be environmentally sustainable clusters of islands. No plumbing and electrical systems that would spoil the blue-green waters, but: "Treated water will be provided from the mainland by boat, while electricity will be sourced from generators."These will be composed of low density and mid-high density for multi-family residential developments, mega yachts and other large vessels, resorts, multi-use developments, and commercial offerings. Therefore, these islands will provide efficient hubs and transports, as Luis Ajamil says:
The World — Hubs and Transports, Dubai, UAE. Originally appeared on The World.
The World — Generic Service Hub, Dubai, UAE. Originally appeared on The World.

Most of the people here will be arriving here by ferries because of convenience. In a way, we're building a community from a resource conservation perspective. We don't need to build roads. We don't need to put down asphalt. We don't need to worry about pollution. As the population goes up, you just increase the ferry service. All we would have to do is maintain the navigation aids. […] The World will be divided into four zones and each zone will be served by one hub. Each hub has an emergency service: you have your fire station, your police station, your heathcare provider, to which you will have instantaneous access. Each one is so designed that, if you were crawling at a slow speed, you'll get there in ten minutes maximum. On average, it's about seven minutes to get there. Most of the islands are five minutes away. Again, from that point of view, it's going to be easier than trying to get an ambulance to your place through traffic.
The World — Low Density, Dubai, UAE. Originally appeared on The World.
The World — Mid-High density, Dubai, UAE. originally appeared on The World.

It would be interesting here to know who, however, would dwell these 300 islands. These will be sold to 300 owners for the average price of 30 million dollars. According to both Samuel Medina, nearly 70 percent of the islands have been sold whilst still undeveloped due to the delay and lack of infrastructural necessities. Moreover it will be exclusively devoted to luxury travel, as reported in The Atlantic Cities. These 300 owners will be asked to help implement Dubai's greatest vision, Hamza Mustafa said. It is said that these islands will host an average population of 150,000. It will also peak at about quarter of a million on holidays (The World Press Conference, Volume 12: Al Manakh, 2007).
The World — Centralized System, Dubai, UAE. Originally appeared on The World.

Suggested reading: Rem Koolhaas, Ole Bouman, Mark Wigley, (eds), Volume 12: Al Manakh, Columbia University GSAPP/Archis, 2007.
Rem Koolhaas, Todd Reisz, Mishaal Gergawi, Bimal Mendis, Tabitha Decker, Volume 23: Al Manakh Gulf Continued, Archis, 2010.

The World, Dubai, UAE. Photo credit: Jumana El-Heloueh/Reuters.  Originally appeared on The Atlantic Cities.

For many, this archipelago of islands are akin to "Mirage Urbanism" such as Dubai, to quote Peter Carl, made up of "service-islands," that will satisfy "high-income desires and [will be] executed architecturally as double game between abstract form and historical reference."In other words, these branding islands will require a platinum card for entry (Peter Carl, Learning from Dubai, in Cities from Zero 2007).
The World — Illustrative Land Plan, Dubai, UAE. Originally appeared on The World.


Suggested reading: Peter Carl, "Learning From Dubai", in Shumon Basar (ed.), Cities from Zero, AA Publications, 2007.

Why these clusters of islands? Why The World? And what for? For its creator, these artificial branding living matter will be as a paradigm for 21st century city-making. Shumon Basar, reporting Sheikh Mohammed's statement, wrote: "A city should of many cities, villages and worlds" (Shumon Basar, "Twelve ultimate critical steps to sudden urban success", in Cities From Zero, 2007). Better still:
Everything — from the smallest scrap of site to the largest planned development is given an ennobling name that evokes a village, a city, a land or a world: KNOWLEDGE VILLAGE, DUBAILAND, GIFTLAND, EASTLAND, HUMANITARIAN CITY, MARITIME CITY, TEXTILE CITY, MEDIA CITY, INTERNET CITY, HEALTH CARE CITY, INDUSTRIAL CITY, THE LOST CITY, CITY OF GOLD, WATERWORLD, WORLD GOLD COUNCIL, THE WORLD. Such appellations transcend locality and nationality. Each '— Land' or '—World' is now the summation of the idea by which it is prefixed, part of a new and absolute index of place — identities. From here, pedestrians and motorists traversing Dubai become everyday travellers charting a strange, scale-less geography.

No matter how artificial these are, these islands belong to history, HH Sheikh Mohammed stated, better: these will "make history and approach the future with steady steps, not wait for the future to come to us." (AME Info, 2 May 2006. Also Peter Carl, Learning from Dubai, 2007). Yet a question arises: what will happen to these ambitious artificial spaces over great spans of time of consumption? Which place will these occupy in landscape urbanism?

Source: The Atlantic Cities, The National, Architizer.

No comments:

Pageviews last month