Sunday, August 10, 2008

With more than 3000 high-rises, Dubai notices dearth of open spaces

About 3000 mid-rise and high-rise towers are currently in various stages of design, planning, development and construction in Dubai, from now till the year 2025.

For instance, the Dubai World Central (DWC) alone will have 1100 apartment towers in its residential cluster, and 850 in its commercial cluster.

Besides, there are about 200 towers currently under development in Dubai Marina and the Jumeirah Lake Towers.

A few hundreds will come up in Jumeirah Village South, Dubai Waterfront and Dubailand.

Taking into account the small land area of about 4,114 square kilometers, with a population of more than over 1.4million, this is a rather huge development.

Matthew Green, the Research Manager, Cluttons UAE, compares this growth of Dubai, with that in New York City, with about 5500 high-rise towers.

Inflation being high, many countries are struggling with economic downturn, while Dubai continues to fly high with its strong boom. But, although Dubai continues with its growth, with new developments being launched every other day, this fast-paced development is hurting the environment as there is a dearth of open spaces such as public parks.

The Head of Capital Investments at Colliers Middle East, Eamon Alashkar, commented that although Dubai is growing at a rapid pace, more prominence should have been given to public spaces during the initial planning stages. At present, most developments in Dubai are a bare minimum of active public space, which is insufficient, taking into account the population and built-up area alongside it.

"Ultimately it will all depend largely on the manner in which the government restricts developments in certain locations and the development of green areas," Green was quoted as saying.

It is however, sad to note that in the rush to build and reap rewards, few developers have ignored the open grass areas and parks, in comparison to other major cities such as New York and London.

Dubai's future built environment is dependent on the objectives of profit-driven real estate developers, to a great extent, Alashkar added.

In few cases, although open spaces are effectively advertised to attract investors, the final picture looks different. It is saddening to note that although a park or an open area finds space in a brochure, which helps in turning in money towards the project, in reality, it is not possible to make profit out of a patch of grass.

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