Desert Nation’s Outlandish Projects

Image: Damac Properties

Image: Damac Properties

We all know about Dubai’s obsession over building the tallest and longest. The nation overshadowing sky-scrapers are built to defy world records. A decade before, Dubai opened world’s tallest building Burj Khalifa, and from then on the nation have started to weave projects that could quench its thirst for biggest and weirdest. Remember, back in 2009, Dubai faced a mortifying economical crisis. During this period, the country’s property market imploded. However, its debt-laden economy and the ensued collapse were blanked out as more foreign investors plunged in again.

Dubai’s Al Makotaum International Airport is all set to become the world’s largest airport, which is expected to be completed within the next six years. The airport is estimated to handle 120 million passengers annually and may overtake the world’s busiest airport – Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport, which handles nearly 94 million passengers. At the start of this year, the desert nation announced its world’s biggest shopping mall project, known as ‘Mall of the World’. The mall is said to include an 8 million square foot shopping center, indoor theme park, theaters, and nearly 100 hotels. Totally, the shopping complex will cover 48 million square feet.

A rendering of proposed 'Mall of the World' (Image courtesy: Dubai Holding)

A rendering of proposed ‘Mall of the World’ (Image courtesy: Dubai Holding)

Last year, Dubai wanted to overtake another glass oasis, which is situated in the US – Las Vegas. The country wanted to ace Vegas by building world’s largest Ferris wheel (Las Vegas’ High Roller Ferris wheel officially becoming the world’s tallest Ferris wheel in the world in late March 2014). It is expected to be completed within the end of 2015, and would stand at 690 feet (will be called as ‘Dubai Eye’). Although there is no official opening data, the country is also working on to build the world’s biggest underwater theme park and this will be accessible to swimmers and divers of all ages. That’s not all. Dubai also proudly announced that it will be home to the world’s biggest man-made lagoon. The artificial lagoon will be constructed on 40 hectares, overtaking the 12 hectare Sharm El Sheikh bay, Egypt.

Dubai Eye (Image: Meraas Holding)

Dubai Eye (Image: Meraas Holding)

But, then it seems that the desert nation’s government is bored with making the biggest and tallest. And so, they plunged deep to come up with some bizarre ideas that defy climate and wreak more havoc upon the environment. Shopping malls are routinely populated with theaters, play areas etc, but how a large indoor skiing area. Dubai’s Mall of Emirates has the world’s largest in-door skiing area, whose snow surface maintains the temperature at -16 degree Celsius. Close to 30 tonnes of snow is changed every night. The skiing area is also a home to few of ‘Dubai Penguins’.

Dubai Miracle Garden covers 72,000 square feet and consists of over 45 million colorful flowers, including geraniums and petunia, which aren’t found anywhere in the Middle East. The aforementioned ‘Mall of the World’ will also function as the climate-controlled city, which means that temperature at various places within the mall will be controlled by using a massive glass dome. The visitors could artificially experience all the seasons, regardless of the month. ‘The Heart of Europe’ is yet another overly ambitious project. It’s the same ‘climate-control’ project, but the country has selected six islands to recreate different European cities or countries – Monte Carlo, Sweden, Sochi, Netherlands, and Poland etc. Special machines are being constructed to make artificial snow and rain.

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Glass roof domes for ‘temperature controlled environment’

But, the most ‘off-the-wall’ new project of Dubai is its plan to build a dense ‘tropical rainforest ‘. The country’s luxury developer Damac Properties has announced to build a luxury hotel development project known as ‘Akoya Oxygen Master Community’. The 55 million square feet luxury hotel will be situated close to a rainforest dome. Damac has called it ‘an educational and cultural dome’ and will try to recreate the natural environment of rainforests. You can’t exactly create a rainforest because apart from large number of trees and animals, rainforest unique characteristic is that it receives 450 cm rain annually. But, how such forests could be developed on a land that receives roughly 10 cm rain every year?

Why should anybody be bothered about these biggest and outlandish projects? Won’t it be eye popping to look at such state of the art buildings and artificial forests? Yeah it is definitely an eye-candy. But, these eye-candies may rapidly suck out enormous water and energy sources. UAE fail to proclaim that they have the highest level of water consumption per capita on the entire planet. Each resident nearly consumes 550 liters per day. Although the developers have promised of thoroughly using solar power, water recycling and waste capture technology, the environmentalists believe that for long-term sustainability of these projects, high water footprint is a must (especially considering the desert climate). The rainforest dome is also situated close to ‘Trump World Golf Club’, which is said to have already sucked up the region’s scarce water supply. Yeah, the same Donald Trump who believes that ‘the concept of global warming was created by and for the Chinese in order to US manufacturing non-competitive’ (from his twitter page).

urlDubai’s freshly announced rainforest tourist boondoggle is called by its developer as a ‘monument to the green economy’. However, after its completion, the contrived rainforest will stand as symbol of irony, because few thousand kilometers from Dubai vast natural rainforests are being chopped at a rapid rate (deforestation rate is at 60 percent in the last three decades) to produce super-market commodities, which are deliriously consumed in most parts of the world.

Nevertheless, you would be considered crazy to express these environmental concerns. We are living in an era, where ‘environmentalism’ is seen as a nemesis to economic growth. There are also those who believe that ‘climate change’ and ‘global warming’ are ideas devised by communists to blockade capitalist countries’ growth.

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