An Essay on Dubai

In mid-January I was fortunate to travel to Malaysia and the United Arab Emirates. Travelling with an eye being trained in the professions of the built environment means that it’s virtually impossible not to notice the more intricate things that occur in cities. And as such, I have noticed things in both Kuala Lumpur and Dubai that have piqued my interest, spawned ideas and initiated further inquiry into why these cities have been designed the way they are, and how this is influencing, and is influenced by, the social strata inhabiting these magnificent metropolises. In particular, this piece will be concerning itself with Dubai.

Dubai has fascinated me for some time. I witnessed its rise over the years, both from transit stop-overs and through the news. In many ways, it represents a microcosm of today’s society: an urbanised, unremitting devotion to building things, and using building as a means of communicating power. It’s not something new to our societies; many empires, kingdoms and states have used infrastructure to convey prowess. But I don’t think many have done so on the scale that Dubai is doing today.

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