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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
I cannot believe what has happened to my once favorite city in the Middle East - Dubai. I lived there from 1999 up to 2003, so I am very familiar with its people, the city and its surroundings.

For me, Dubai always felt like that special, undiscovered gem - a beautiful, eclectic mix of Western Culture backed by a strong sense of Arab heritage.

And now onto 2006....

I just spent 6 weeks in Dubai, and I'm truly shocked at how the quality of life has severely deterioated. It's become expensive, ridiculously over crowded, incredibly polluted (the thick smog which looms over Sheik Zayed is a disgrace) and is riddled with traffic problems that even New York would be ashamed of.

I'm sorry to say, but Dubai has become a complete and utter soul less concrete jungle. Are we still in Arabia people?

I can't but help feel that all these Western Countries which are coming in as so called 'advisors' are doing so not to help with the problems, but to line their own pockets with the seemingly endless supply of money. They see Dubai as the ultimate 'smash and grab' city. If you have a 'story' an idea, no matter how crazy or innane it may appear - someone, somewhere in Dubai will buy it off of you. Will they still be around when the pot of money is empty? Yes....you'll find them at the travel agent booking their one-way tickets home.

Dubai is expecting 4 million people to be living there by 2017? That will not happen, never in a million years. The place is simply too small and the infrastucture is already bursting at the seems with a little over a million residents. Before any of you jump on the 'they're dealing with it' bandwagon - if you think adding an extra lane on Sheik Zayed is going to solve the problems then you will be pleased to know that you are already living in 'Dubai land.' All we are seeing are 'Quick fixes' which may work in the interim - but in the end will only add more coal to the fire.

As for the ongoing Tourism debate. Well, I don't buy all this nonsense about Dubai being / trying to become the shopping capital of the world either. It's simply pricing itself out of the equation for a start. Do you know, it's now comprable from a price perspective for people in the middle east to take their family to London and stay in a decent hotel - than it is to stay in Dubai? Hmmm....that's not right is it?


In the short term (few years) I'm sure tourists will still continue to come to Dubai because of the world wide frenzy surrounding the place. Credit should be given the immense Marketing campaign sighting Dubai as a place of fabulous luxury (flooding the market with images of palatial hotels, giant malls, the semi-unique 'Palms') - but Tourists aren't stupid, and once they see Dubai for what it really is, just another 'expensive, overcrowed city with a mostly unfriendly climate' - it does not bode so well for the future.

Perhaps the much fabled 'Dubailand' will bring them in? They're going after Disney's market share aren't they? Well, if you can handle the sweltering summer humidity and horrific 3 km/h drive to the place - you might be onto a winning idea there....somehow, I just don't see it.


From a business perspective, I believe that within 3 to 5 years a lot of the business will have diversifed into cheaper and less crowded Gulf countries where the quality of life is still comparitively high and the actual cost of doing business are dramatically cheaper. And what of the Third World Nationals who do most of Dubai's servicing needs? The recent much publicised strikes and wage riots are hardly likely to inspire people to seek work in Dubai now are they?


It's very evident to me that Dubai has been a wonderful social experiment. In fact, its been the perfect guinea pig for the re-development of the entire region. Developers from all over the area will take Dubai as the perfect case study, a tool for analysis, something which we can all learn from and most importantly improve upon. What happens when all these surrounding countries start developing 'the right and proper way'....? It's already happening now, all over the Gulf, large projects are appearing, all ready to take a nice bite from that Dubai cake.

Dubai may have a head start in a race, but let's not forget that life and business is a marathon - something which seems to have been forgotten amongst the announcement of a brand new multi billion dirham 'Mobile Phone Village.'


It's such a shame, the old Dubai truly was a special place, a tranquil haven where life was simple, enjoyable and most importantly soulful.
 

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Kool Kat
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It still is soulful, just as long as you stay on the other side of DWTC.... I agree with you the Dubai seems very artificial at the moment the moment you hit the first interchange... but all that will change soon inshAllah.

I will let people like smussuw and dubaiflo post their replies. Thanks for the post, we appreciate your views about the city.
 

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i lived there from 1985-2000. i know what you mean.
but karama, deira, burdubai have remained largely unchanged. theyve just grown bigger. so spend more time there. new dubai on the other hand is creating a whole new culture/soul/character. in the end, thats what dubai is about - contrasts. the old and and the new. the past and the future. i love everything dubai was, and i love everything dubai is becoming.

even 1999 was WAAAY different from what it was in 1993 for example. i kinda find it funny how you think 1999 Dubai was tranquil :)


anyway, the traffic situation can be fixed. but soaring rent and inflation is what might kill the city. the city is around 1.7 million now and rapidly growing. i do think it will hit the 3.5 million mark.

but what else do you expect the city to do? it must adapt or become extinct.
you cant expect everything to stay the same. i loved my childhood in Dubai, but I cant expect to remain 9 years old forever. sooner or later, im gonna have to grow up
 

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The Legend said:
I cannot believe what has happened to my once favorite city in the Middle East - Dubai. I lived there from 1999 up to 2003, so I am very familiar with its people, the city and its surroundings.

For me, Dubai always felt like that special, undiscovered gem - a beautiful, eclectic mix of Western Culture backed by a strong sense of Arab heritage.

And now onto 2006....

I just spent 6 weeks in Dubai, and I'm truly shocked at how the quality of life has severely deterioated. It's become expensive, ridiculously over crowded, incredibly polluted (the thick smog which looms over Sheik Zayed is a disgrace) and is riddled with traffic problems that even New York would be ashamed of.

I'm sorry to say, but Dubai has become a complete and utter soul less concrete jungle. Are we still in Arabia people?

I can't but help feel that all these Western Countries which are coming in as so called 'advisors' are doing so not to help with the problems, but to line their own pockets with the seemingly endless supply of money. They see Dubai as the ultimate 'smash and grab' city. If you have a 'story' an idea, no matter how crazy or innane it may appear - someone, somewhere in Dubai will buy it off of you. Will they still be around when the pot of money is empty? Yes....you'll find them at the travel agent booking their one-way tickets home.

Dubai is expecting 4 million people to be living there by 2017? That will not happen, never in a million years. The place is simply too small and the infrastucture is already bursting at the seems with a little over a million residents. Before any of you jump on the 'they're dealing with it' bandwagon - if you think adding an extra lane on Sheik Zayed is going to solve the problems then you will be pleased to know that you are already living in 'Dubai land.' All we are seeing are 'Quick fixes' which may work in the short run - but in the end will only add more coal to the fire.

As for the ongoing Tourism debate. Well, I don't buy all this nonsense about Dubai being / trying to become the shopping capital of the world either. It's simply pricing itself out of the equation for a start. Do you know, it's now comprable from a price perspective for people in the middle east to take their family to London and stay in a decent hotel - than it is to stay in Dubai? Hmmm....that's not right is it?


In the short term (few years) I'm sure tourists will still continue to come to Dubai because of the world wide frenzy surrounding the place. Credit should be given the immense Marketing campaign sighting Dubai as a place of immense luxury (flooding the market with images of palatial hotels, giant malls, the semi-unique 'Palms') but Tourists aren't stupid, and once they see Dubai for what it really is, just another 'expensive, overcrowed city with mostly unfriendly climate' - it does not bode so well for the future.

Perhaps the much fabled 'Dubailand' will bring them in? They're going after Disney's market share aren't they? Well, if you can handle the sweltering summer humidity and horrific 3 km/h drive to the place - you might be onto a winning idea there....somehow, I just don't see it.


From a business perspective, I believe that within 3 to 5 years a lot of the business will have diversifed into cheaper and less crowded Gulf countries where the quality of life is still comparitively high and the actual cost of doing business are dramatically cheaper. And what of the Third World Nationals who do most of Dubai's servicing needs? The recent much publicised strikes and wage riots are hardly likely to inspire people to seek work in Dubai now are they?


It's very evident to me that Dubai has been a wonderful social experiment. In fact, its been the perfect guinea pig for the re-development of the entire region. Leaders all over the region will take Dubai as the perfect case study, a tool for analysis, something which we can all learn from and most importantly improve upon. What happens when all these countries in the region start developing 'the right way'....? It's already happening now, all over the Gulf, large projects are appearing, all ready to have a nice bite of that Dubai cake.

Dubai may have a head start in a race, but let's not forget that life is a marathon - something which seems to have been forgotten amongst the announcement of a brand new multi billion dirham 'Mobile Phone Village.'


It's such a shame, the old Dubai truly was a special place, a tranquil haven where life was simple, enjoyable and most importantly soulful.
well if you still need an alternative try Bahrain, sure there aren't that many skyscrapers but you can still get affordable accomidations and it aint that expensive as well
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
luv2bebrown said:
i lived there from 1985-2000. i know what you mean.
but karama, deira, burdubai have remained largely unchanged. theyve just grown bigger. so spend more time there. new dubai on the other hand is creating a whole new culture/soul/character. in the end, thats what dubai is about - contrasts. the old and and the new. the past and the future. i love everything dubai was, and i love everything dubai is becoming.

even 1999 was WAAAY different from what it was in 1993 for example. i kinda find it funny how you think 1999 Dubai was tranquil :)


anyway, the traffic situation can be fixed. but soaring rent and inflation is what might kill the city. the city is around 1.7 million now and rapidly growing. i do think it will hit the 3.5 million mark.

but what else do you expect the city to do? it must adapt or become extinct.
you cant expect everything to stay the same. i loved my childhood in Dubai, but I cant expect to remain 9 years old forever. sooner or later, im gonna have to grow up


Luv2, you are indeed correct, there are pockets of Dubai (Deira, Karama) that have remained relatively unchanged, however, this is not necessarily a good thing for the same reasons that you stated - increased population without the luxury of expansion possibilities.

In essence, all that's happened is more people have moved into what was an already overly tight space - ultimately causing a depreciation in the overall standard of living for all concerned.

If we get to the crux of the problem here, Dubai has done too much too soon. For example, the roads, the metro, the general city infrastructure should have been thoroughly planned out MANY years prior to launching a free trade and open commerce policy.

The city should have laid the foundations in PREPARATION for such vast expansion, unfortunately, we have seen the exact opposite - in true vigilante fashion - let's shoot first and ask the questions later.

History has taught us that you cannot simply build around such innate problems, which is why I strongly believe that we are going to see some serious repurcussions to this, what former Fed Chairman Alan Greenspan famously coined, 'irrational exuberance.'
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
smussuw said:
I totally agree The Legend

Smussuw, with you being an Emirati yourself, I value your opinion regarding the rapid expansion of the City. How do you feel about the free trade policy, the construction, the traffic problems, the pollution?

I am very interested to hear what the true Locals have to say - as it's there homes which have been completely transformed. It's quite possible that Ex-pats will one day return back to their native countries, so the overall transition and quality of life may not be of paramount importance , as for them 'The Dubai experience' - may just be a transitory phase of their lives.
 

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Back in the Sandpit
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Krazy said:
I will let people like smussuw and dubaiflo post their replies. Thanks for the post, we appreciate your views about the city.

what is that supposed to mean :D

i still think dubai has a good mix from old and new, but it is true, after passing the first IC it is loosing its soul a bit, mainly due to the construction.

nevertheless.. i am sure it will be a different thing in 2010.

still this is the only way to put dubai on the map in a very short period of time.

i don't think it has lost its culture, at least not seen from an (non muslim) european's view.
 

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Dubai State of Mind
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Yes it is only temporary because of construction and unlived in communities. From 2010 onwards Dubai will develop a new vibrant soul and become the envy of the world. Dubai's soul is transforming and soon it will emerge again free and beautiful like a butterfly.
 

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I agree with luv2, there are really two Dubais now. The Creek areas, Satwa, Bur Dubai, those sort of places are what I remember as Dubai. Now I live in Dubai Marina and it isn't Dubai. Very nice, but it ain't Dubai.
 

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Discussion Starter · #14 ·
Seabee said:
I agree with luv2, there are really two Dubais now. The Creek areas, Satwa, Bur Dubai, those sort of places are what I remember as Dubai. Now I live in Dubai Marina and it isn't Dubai. Very nice, but it ain't Dubai.

Seabee, how do you like living in the Marina? I frequently visit the restaurant areas over there - and whilst it certainly looks nice; I can't imagine the traffic stress on the place once all 200 buildings and the Palms (with the alleged 80!! hotels) are operational.

Those roads leading into the Marina from Sheik Zayed are ridiculously small, it took us an astonishing 1.5 hours to travel 2km when we visited the Dubai boat show last month.

Very scary prospect.
 

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Under the Burj
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To be honest, i think it was the day they threw the pipes over the dam and started flooding the marina, that i realised dubai had lost its old soul.

importantly the spirit remains. and so long as you dont live down in 'new dubai' [or emirates road] some of the soul is their too
 

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Back in Blighty
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The above analysis probably does accurately represent indigenous sentiments, but as I see it, Dubai only ever had 2 choices...either stay exactly as it is and in 10 years when there's no oil become a third world country...or come up with the most ambitious contingency plan ever launched in any country and transform a once oil dependent economy into one of the world's most dominant centres of commerce, tourism and urbanity.
 

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Naz UK said:
The above analysis probably does accurately represent indigenous sentiments, but as I see it, Dubai only ever had 2 choices...either stay exactly as it is and in 10 years when there's no oil become a third world country...or come up with the most ambitious contingency plan ever launched in any country and transform a once oil dependent economy into one of the world's most dominant centres of commerce, tourism and urbanity.
totally agree with ya there
 
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