Dubai is without a doubt one of the world’s fastest growing luxury cities in the world. Originally boasting some of the world’s best construction plans, the billion dollar boom city now plays host to most of the world’s cranes.
Dubai is a city that has traditionally been funded by its billion dollar oil mining industry. With oil in the area set to run out by 2016, plans were developed to turn the once small fishing and trade port into the world’s best holiday destination.
Plans were initially running intensely, world class proposals being executed with increasing amounts of speed. This halted however when the country was hit by the Global Financial Crisis (GFC). The GFC not only stalled plans, but completely foreclosed major building sites. This is only a logical issue with construction practices in the city. These were not million dollar projects that could seek backing from elsewhere, but billion dollar empires that were beginning to crumble.
One such venture that has stalled greatly since the GFC fallout is aptly labelled “The World”. This project, originally another brain-child of the innovative and highly esteemed monarch of Dubai Sheikh Mohammed bins Rashid Al Maktoum, was taken over by developers Nakheel Properties.
The World Islands as it is often referred to, is an artificial archipelago located 4km off the coast of Dubai. Its layout, as the name suggests, will replicate a map of the world, each island its own country of approximately $25 million.
The foundation for such an island includes intensive dredging. Much like its predecessor “The Palm Islands”, the newer islands will be created through a process of dredging and mixing sand with rock to create a completely natural island base.
In fact the $14 billion project has used approximately 31 million tonnes of rock and 321 million cubic metres in creating an area that covers 6 by 9km.
The infrastructure system for the islands is a completely underwater facility. The power is brought over from the Dubai mainland grid through underwater pipelines and corridors; this same system used for the sustainable greywater and stormwater systems.
The islands come in three different densities, categorising them in such a way that caters to different facets of the market.
The first are the low density islands. Due to the exclusivity of this category, low density islands make up the smallest section of the three areas. These islands are privately owned sanctuaries that offer privacy as well as large vessel access points. These islands also have the unique characteristic of being able to be shaped according to the owner’s design, although there are specific shape regulations.
The mid level density islands are attempting to cater to multi-family residences, or mixed used lots. These are more relevant through the archipelago, but the third, high density resort islands will dominate the area. These islands are completely dedicated to exclusive resort developments, with the first “Coral Island Resort” already planned.
There has also been allocated commercial space which will cater to the needs of shoppers with retail sections, as well as restaurant, cafes and leisure venues.
There is as yet only one show home constructed on the islands, with work on island of “Germany” the last to commence in 2010”.
Due to the fact that the development venture is completely water dominated, all routes of transportation are water driven with transport hubs located north, south, east and west, specifically chosen for their proximity to the mainland and other islands.
These hubs also create a base for medical, security and utility facilities.
Cracks in the plans started to show at the beginning of the year, and with the complete stall of the project, developments are certainly unsettled. A property tribunal heard that the World Islands are in fact sinking earlier this year.
While Nakheel stand by the fact that the area is not sinking, a reassurance to the owners of the already sold islands, they do admit that the project is in a “coma”.
While the plan may be “perfecting paradise” it will now be a test of time and money to see if this estimated lucrative project truly pays off.