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Dubai: did I just wake up in 2008 again?

Dubai view of buildings

What do you think of Emirate's latest announcement?

November 25, 2012 10:31 by

As Dubai continues to compete – not only with other nations but – with itself by announcing plans for the Mohammed Bin Rashid City; Kipp hears a lot of tut-tuts, some ‘oh no,  not again(s)’ and even an ‘ew, really?’

The massive retail and tourism development is set to rise on the outskirts of the current downtown area and (this bit just had to be mentioned) will include a park 30 percent larger than London’s Hyde. It will also feature a retail complex called the “Mall of the World”, which will be able to host 80 million visitors a year with its ‘over 100-hotel facility’.

It will be built by Dubai Holding , a conglomerate owned by Dubai’s ruler, and real estate firm Emaar Properties.

While news reports have suggested that this announcement is, as Reuters put it, ‘a fresh sign that the glitzy emirate has recovered its commercial ambitions’, our readers say otherwise. The motive behind the plan according to Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed Al Maktoum is that “the current facilities available in Dubai need to be scaled up in line with the future ambitions for the city.”

One hundred hotels, an enormous park and the biggest mall in the world…again. Where is the world’s current largest mall I wonder? Why the Emirate is in competition with itself to outgrow its own mall is beyond many people but the general sentiment as we skimmed through the morning Twitter feed appeared to be of the ‘finish-what-you-left-hanging-before-you-start-something-new’ persuasion.

Here is what some of our readers thought:

“Did I just wake up in 2008 again?”

“Sometimes I simply wish that Dubai would complete what has been started before announcing yet another mega project. We have been down this road before – too much hype and unfulfilled promises. It is a dangerous path that feels far too similar to 2006/2007.”

“Don’t we already have the biggest mall in the world? With an aquarium? And a water zoo? And an ice-rink? Not to mention a labyrinthine parking lot? That should be a world record too! And then there’s the other mall with a (oh dear god) ski slope?”

“A number of obvious problems – the involvement of Dubai Properties who have a poor track record of timely delivery of quality projects; the lack of metro access; yet another world’s largest mall – what impact will that have on the existing retail sector?; how much will the whole development cost; how will it be funded (forget off plan purchasing) and when will it be finished.”

“Thank you for all the wonderful facilities, but we thought we were living in a city, not an amusement park.”

We start to notice a trend here. Not to undermine the business value  and ambition of a massive project like this but the real question isn’t necessarily whether it is feasible but rather – as these major and quirky projects continue to pop up (yes I’m talking about you Taj Mahal replica) – whether the emirate has thought this through to the end.

“As much as I can appreciate a country’s (or city’s) ambitions, sometimes it seems that is all Dubai seems to be doing — outshining other countries. Is this an attempt to improve quality of life? I doubt it.”

* Kipp has withheld the publishing of names



  1. Irfan Ahmad on November 25, 2012 1:22 pm

    I love the title – Did I just wake up in 2008 again?

    It reminds me of the Carpenters song “It’s yesterday once more.” For those who were not around in 1973 when it was released, here are some of the lyrics:

    “Those were such happy times
    And not so long ago
    How I wondered where they’d gone
    But they’re back again
    Just like a long lost friend
    All the songs I loved so well. …
    It’s yesterday once more.”

    How I wish this were true!

  2. Issa on November 25, 2012 10:17 pm

    Forget getting the largest & best malls & hotels. Why not focus on educating the citizens so you get the best engineers, doctors, teachers etc. you are leaving your citizenry lost in all these fanzines of glory.

  3. ZeTallGerman on November 26, 2012 2:50 pm

    Argh. Seriously….. argh. I don’t want to live in Disneyworld. I want to live in a city. Is it too much to ask to have proper, completed roads that lead up to my villa that I moved into 3 years (!!) ago? Is it too much to ask that you finish those 4 playgrounds that were built 50% and are now forgotten? How about more schools so parents don’t have to put their kids on decade-old waiting lists? Or more hospitals and clinics? Hey, and FREE beaches that don’t cost an arm and a leg to visit for the day. Oh, and affordable housing for those of us who don’t need / can’t afford 6-bedroom mansions? Also, call me crazy, but perhaps building pharmacies, police stations and FIRE stations in new neighbourhoods may just be a teensy bit more important than rushing to build the first frikkin Starbucks or Spinneys? Argh.

  4. M. Aldalou on November 26, 2012 6:59 pm

    Kipp adores your comments. You are all absolutely right, affordable housing should be the first priority. Police stations, fire stations, hospitals, clinics and pharmacies are all necessary.

  5. YT on November 27, 2012 12:17 pm

    I am in a dream where the first one is not yet finished and I am still suffering from my mistakes in believing the first one. Million’s lost on purchase that have yet to see the light. But why not forget the past start dreaming again, you have nothing to loose.


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