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Work resumes on an unusual mega project in Dubai

William Wallace

Faculty Blog




I was teaching in Dubai recently and was impressed with the continuing number and range of projects under construction. I was interested to see work has now resumed on a number of unusual and interesting mega projects that were temporarily suspended during the recent global recession. The Dubai World Islands Project is a good example.

The project involves the construction of an artificial archipelago of islands located several miles offshore using sand dredged up from the sea bed. The islands are designed to represent the major land masses on the surface of the earth. If you look at the picture above (a NASA photograph taken from space) you can see the Dubai World Islands Project towards the left hand side of the picture. You can also see the more well known Palm Islands project to the right. If you look carefully at the Dubai World Islands project you will see that the islands do indeed form a rough representation of the major continental masses. Work on the Dubai Islands Project originally started in 2003 and by 2008 more than 50% of the islands had been sold to various developers. The main planned use is housing and resort development and the various islands are linked by underwater utilities including fresh water and power. Development proposals for the islands largely stopped in 2008 at the onset of the global recession and the islands have remained more or less undeveloped since then. Over the past year or so, however, property prices have increased dramatically in Dubai as the regional and global economies have improved. Work has now started on the “Heart of Europe” island and it will be interesting to see how rapidly and successfully this project progresses. It is hoped that the development of the Heart of Europe Island will act as a development catalyst for the rest of the islands.

The Dubai World Islands is certainly an interesting project. There are numerous example projects that involve the construction of artificial islands but few on this scale and with this degree of visual impact. I was also thinking about how the development of each island can be regarded as an individual project within the overall 'islands' project or programme, depending on your point of view. If you are interested in buying one of the islands you can check out some current prices and make a bid here.