I was born in Dubai, and I have been in love with the city since then. Wondering all the things that are happening in all scales and all disciplines. It is one of the reasons that made me fell in love with the design world, from a small product design to a big architecture design. I appreciate the way how they always think smart in taking decisions, and how they can find the way to build their smart futuristic city in both aspects the technological and as a city responsibilities and what comes under them from security and privacy, Data management, built environment, transportation, even in renewable energy. First of all, I would like to give a brief introduction about Dubai.

Dubai is one of the most famous cities in the Middle East and the North African region. It is the most famous in the gulf region, to be more specific. It is located on the southeast coast of the Arabian Gulf and on the emirate’s northern coastline. Dubai is the second largest emirate with an urban area of 3885 sq km and gives the city roughly 35 sq km of land. The Tropic of Cancer crosses through the United Arab Emirates (UAE) causing the weather of its cities to be warm and bright. Dubai has an average daytime temperature of 25°C, 12-15°C nearer the coast, and 5°C in the desert or the mountains in the winter season. The nights are relatively cool, however, humidity can average between 50% and 60% near the coastal areas. By way of contrast, the weather in Dubai can be extremely hot and humid during the summer. With temperatures reaching the mid 40’s and maybe even 50’s degrees Celsius. Not to mention the sea temperatures that can reach up to 37°C, with humidity averaging over 90%. Rainfall in Dubai is infrequent and does not last for a long period of time. It rains in the winter season in the form of short gushes and occasional thunderstorms. On average, rain falls only five days a year. Dubai’s population stands at an estimation of 1.5 million, with three quarters of the population being male. The city of Dubai is made up of a multicultural society with only 5% of local Emiratis, the rest are expatriates from all over the world.

    Speaking of Dubai’s economy, Dubai has developed as a worldwide city and a business center point of the Middle East. It is additionally a significant spot for tourism and business. By the 1960s Dubai’s economy depended on incomes from trade and oil investigation concessions. However, oil was not found until 1966 and by 1969. Oil income initially began to stream. Dubai’s oil income quickened the early improvement of the city, yet its stores are constrained and creation levels are low. Today, less than 5% of the emirate’s income originates from oil. The Emirate’s Western-style model of business drives its economy with the principle incomes now originating from tourism, flying, land, and money related services. Dubai has pulled in world consideration through numerous inventive substantial development ventures and Sports occasions and has ended up notorious for its high rises and elevated Architecture, specifically the world’s tallest building, the Burj Khalifa.  Dubai’s property business sector encountered a remarkable collapse in 2008–09 after the world’s economic crisis in 2007–08, yet the emirate’s economy has made an arrival to development, with an anticipated 2015 spending plan surplus. As a matter fact, Dubai is now chosen to be the host of Expo 2020, and that was and will be a drastic transformation for Dubai’s economy.

    Economy was a significant turning point in Dubai’s architecture and urban areas, where it systematically expanded its massive developments by setting some internationally recognizable trademarks. Starting with Burj Al Arab which was known as the world’s first and only 7-star hotel. Despite the fact that 39% of its space was made-up of non-utilizable space, Burj Al Arab was still considered to be the world’s 3rd tallest building of its time. Not only that, but Dubai was still developing and expanding to try and build more identifications through architecture and urbanism. Then they built Burj Khalifa, which holds many world records including being the tallest artificial structure in the world, and the famous Dubai Mall which is also the world’s largest shopping mall. Since Dubai’s architecture and urbanism is systematic it is designed and modeled in a sequence of independent, perfectly ordered mini cities, in which each city performs in an outstandingly convincing imitation of the place that mainly inspired it, according to Christopher Hawthorne who is an Architecture Critic “Like many first-time visitors, I expected to find in Dubai a messy, vital hybrid of architectural and urban strategies, reflecting the city’s history as a regional crossroads and trading center. I could hardly have been more wrong. Dubai is not some Middle Eastern Venice, a polyglot city where the combination of construction workers from Pakistan, bankers from London and Hong Kong and tourists from around the world creates a mash-up of contemporary urbanism.” (Hawthorne, 2009)

    Dubai’s architecture and urbanism plan could be systematic to an extent that can be overlapping to other countries’ or regions’ plans, because according to George Katodrytis, an architect who teaches at the American University of Sharjah “The emirate just northeast of Dubai, calls the resulting condition “cut and paste” urbanism. It’s as if Dubai’s leaders had taken sections from cities around the world that appealed to them — or that they decided would appeal to foreign investors — and imported them wholesale to the shores of the Arabian Gulf.” (Hawthorne, 2009) Dubai is trying to build an international and a remarkable sign that would be useful for the increase of tourism and business investments instead of focusing on architecture and urbanism as main aspect for development. According to Nadia Mounajjed who works as an Assistant Professor of Architecture and Design at the American University of Sharjah “Dubai uses its architectural emblems as means of advertising its corporate success, ” (Mounajjed, 2013) Dubai is basically using world’s architectural signifiers to attract media coverage in order to advertise Dubai as a brand and are also using the “cut paste” theory in which they implement foreigner/personalized structures, instead of building up their own creative structures.

    All in all, Dubai’s economy has been through ups and downs and could still overcome the obstacles that it faces in the future, however when comparing Dubai’s strengths and weaknesses, strengths clearly outweigh its weakness, yet one cannot overlook the weaknesses as they are a threat to the development of the country. In fact that “the cut paste” theory should probably be resolved, where architecture and urbanism should be a bit more customized with structure in a way that fits the cultural context of Dubai. Just the way each city customizes every structure based on their own economy, climate, population and context.

Although there is still much to be done, EXPO 2020 going to be in Dubai with an expectation of 30 Million visitors and the city scape event that happened few months ago was showing the ability of Urban planning and Urbanism in Dubai with more than 30 projects will be done in the coming four years and still counting! The greatest quality of Dubai being a developing city, in other words “under construction” is the diversification of its urban and architecture experience that it offers. From the streets of Deira and Bur Dubai, to the cosmopolitan Baniyas square, and the new and marvelous spaces of Sheik Zayed Road, the Downtown region around Burj Khalifa, Marina and past, one can experience a dynamic urban setting which challenges the ordinary and the stereotypical picture of a Middle Eastern city.  Dubai could also strongly convey a message and be a powerful source for great architecture, urbanism and real estate development to cities around the world, specifically through the contributions made by its diversified wealth that is reserved by its sovereignty.











Student :

Abdullah Ibrahim

Faculty :

Gonzalo Delacamara