Dubai Man-made Island: Why it’s still abandoned?
Dubai, a city that hosts the ultimate building of the world, Burj-Khalifa is a record-setter by hosting astonishing hotels, astonishing shopping malls, and the longest gold shopping centre. In 2003, a new feather has been announced to add to its feather, “The World”, man-made island; a project worth more than a billion. The shape of this man-made island has just resembled the map of the earth. With three already constructed man-made islands, “The World” was planned to be the tourist’s hotspot as it is just a short ride ahead of Dubai. But after a decade of completion, the islands are still abandoned, there is hardly anything build on that. But why? What happened to the most ambitious project in Dubai?
Man-Made Islands In Dubai:
In early 2000, the real estate boom in emirates was in peak, and it was expected to develop enormous opportunity in creating an artificial coastal land in Dubai. At that time, most of the Dubai coastal lands have already been expanded. Nakheel Properties, a government-owned Real Estate Company made a twist to change the coastline of Dubai drastically in just 2 decades. First, the company came up with the plan to build three palm tree-shaped man-made islands; The Palm Jumeirah, Palm Deira, Palm Jebel Ali. Palm Deira is by far the largest one. The project of Palm Jumeriah could double the coastline of Dubai. In 2003, the announced the latest “The World”. The islands are planned to have low-density housing, high-density complexes, and some of its parts are planned to use commercially. In the later phase, this island was planned to be supplemented with the even larger project “The Universe”; when viewed from space, it represents the shape of Sun, Moon, a distance Galaxy, and a milky way. This project represents the aspiration of the cosmopolitan city like Dubai and its amazing people.
What happened to it?
The level of confidence behind these projects is eye-popping. It has all the potential to be the tourist’s hotspot; that surely creates a source of new income for a place like Dubai, where most of its wealth comes from the extraction of oil.
Now take a look, what finally happened to these ambitious plans?
At the end of 2006, the land reclamation and construction of the 1st apartments in Palm Jumeirah was completed and handover. The strings of Palm mainly host private spaces and in the ring around the palm, the luxury hotels are planned. When the Palm Jumeirah was still under construction, The company Nakheel Properties took the risk to start the other projects. In the 21st-century real estate industry of Dubai experience the boom and the great Burj-Khalifa, the largest building of the world was built.
But all these cannot sustain the international financial crisis that readily affects Dubai; especially the real estate industry. All the megaprojects are compelled to shut down; projects related to the artificial island was about to collapse. Most of the construction sites are shut down in no time amid this crisis. The declining demand for the project leads to the rapid fall of the price of the plots. Further development of Palm Jebel Ali comes to a standstill. The empty sandbanks that spread over 7km are completely forgotten when the company Nakheel Properties announced the refunds to its investors. The land reclamation plan of Dubai was advanced enough that you can see the shape of some of the islands on the satellite image. In most of the cases, the land reclamation had processed but it is far from complete.
In 2013, Nakheel Properties have tried to save the project Palm Deira by re-branding it. The project was scaled down; the land reclamation was stopped and now it is known as Deira Islands. The entire project was cut short to have two high rise buildings and a long shopping street.
Finally “The World”. Most of the land reclamation was already done. And a large part of it already been sold apart before the financial crisis hit Dubai’s real estate industry. But most of the investors are now facing their problems, so the entire project has not developed any further. Though after the initial threat of financial crisis, Dubai bounced back, and investment has come to lots of new projects; but “The World” project does not benefit much from this, as most of the investors are not sure about the revenue out of this project. 10 years after the initial project announcement the highly ambitious project is no longer a fit for the current time.
There are many concerns behind the situation starting from environmental issues to the longevity of this island. It was in the news that smaller channels are found between the islands that started to sand up. And the raising of sea level is another concern that grows danger for this project.
Other than that, residences of Palm Jumeirah have continuously complained about the water quality it provides. The backwater is necessary for protecting the palm from erosion and it helps to hinder the natural tide movements. But that causes additional environmental concerns; as due to construction, the seawater within the palm becomes stagnant. Along with that pailing up, thousands of tons of sand on the seabed destabilize the coastal soil, which could lead to erosion of the natural coastline. All together these negative environmental impacts make it impossible to marketize the project. In addition to this, the condition of migrant labourers is also catching the attention of the media. That also helps to build an overall negative effect.
Nevertheless, few projects are starting to take shape in these islands. In 2014, an Austrian real estate company have announced that they are planning to develop several projects on European islands. The project is named “The heart of Europe”; as the mission is to create a mini version of Europe, with luxurious hotels whose constructions are inspired by Venice or Monaco. In addition to these hotels, they have planned to build a chain of European food courts and plaza. The project is currently under construction, and only time will tell whether this can bring back the glory in terms of economic success.
Future of these projects is still unknown
Every corner of the world takes risky development projects. Few of them got success whereas few fails. This kind of project often serves a greater role than just being financially successful for them only. They attract tourists and support the local economy. Apart from just boosting the local tourism industry, a few of the projects instead of symbolizing the start of a new era, or serves as national pride. So, if you question Dubai for this ambitious planning, the same criticism must come for every part of it. But for this time being, the question has remained whether the ambitious man-made island project will going to change the coastal landscape of Dubai or not.