Life in Dubai and its not so public Lores
Theres more to it than the eyes can see

The Gate-Shams in Abu Dhabi

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

The Gate Shams Abu Dhabi is a massive multi-use project being planned for Abu Dhabi that will include several large towers.

These towers, shaped as if they open up and welcome the sky, represent the contemporary design and vision of the project.

The first of the plots to be released has been given a working name of 'The Gate', as its five impressive towers form the southern entrance to the Shams Abu Dhabi development. With four residential towers of 60 stories and a single 75-story mixed residential and commercial use tower, this plot encompasses 3,000 residential units with accompanying underground parking and environmental terraces and in total represents more than one million square metres of development space.

The second plot represents what is generally being referred to as the Northern or Upper Village-a residential cluster of buildings ranging from six to 35 stories which will be bisected by a major canal. This neighbourhood is expected to be known as a slightly upscale residential area known for its serenity.

The third plot is composed of several blocks dominated by two iconic towers at the northern tip of the development. These towers, shaped as if they open up and welcome the sky, represent the contemporary design and vision of the project. These towers will form the commercial centre of the adjoining Upper Village.

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Distict Municipality plans to link coastal projects by Sea

The Transport Department of Dubai Municipality is studying options to integrate inter-emirate and local ferries between new coastal developments.

The costal developments that would be connected are the Palm Jebel Ali, the Palm Jumeirah, the Deira Palm, The World, and the Dubai Waterfront and Business Bay with a water transport system, which would also extend to neighbouring emirates. The vessels serving these routes would also have access to the the creek extension once it is completed.

According to estimates that are part of the medium term ferry route strategy 2010, the route connecting all these coastal projects will have considerably high ridership, with the annual passenger forecast for the Business Bay leading with an estimated 5.5 million passengers. The route to Sharjah could annually carry some 500,000 passengers, Maritime City route of up to 500,000, and the coastal route covering the island projects of up to 470,000 passengers annually.

Al Dosari also revealed that the department is also planning to try out natural gas powered Abras (water taxis). These would offer a quiet and environment friendly fuel for the much popular water transport system.

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Al Safa Project, To Include 800 Meter Canal and 10 Floor Hotel

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Dubai Municipality plans to build a 100 hectare real estate project at Al Safa area in Dubai which will be a housing and recreational property development built with modernity combining traditional features of Arabia in it.The new development will be in the Al Safa Area in Dubai

The real estate development which will incorporate the traditional water channel system and a big lake surrounded by restaurants, office and residential complexes, will provide investment opportunities. "It will include a recreational commercial axis for pedestrians, called the Pedestrian Promenade, to be constructed along an 800-metre stretch of a water canal. The promenade will serve as centre point of commercial and recreational attraction. Residents will be able to use boats as a mode of transport and leisure. There will be separate areas for cars and pedestrians".

The work on the infrastructure development of the area, between Al Wasl and Shaikh Zayed Road is expected to begin soon. The project will offer a unique opportunity to investors. Tenders will soon be offered to invite investors to build houses, offices, schools, sports complex, hotel, hospital and recreational and shopping facilities. But they have to follow designs given by the Municipality.

The hotel will be an ground plus 10 storeys tall while residential and commercial buildings will be ground plus three storeys.

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Developments in Abu Dhabi

Sunday, November 27, 2005

This will be devoted to project developments and urban project in Abu Dhabi.

The Abu Dhabi Tourism Authority has approved investment packages to build 4,000 hotel rooms in three years as part of its plan to add 17,000 rooms by 2015, the chief of the authority said yesterday.

At least 17,000 additional rooms are needed by 2015, according to the chief. Hotel construction is a critical component for growth.

Currently, Abu Dhabi has 8,000 hotel rooms.

The authority recently approved investment packages for 4,000 new hotel rooms to be delivered in three years. About 2,000 hotel rooms have entered the first stage in the licensing process and the momentum will soon pick up.

About six to seven four- and five-star hotels will be built to add the 4,000 new rooms.

A major Abu Dhabi group is constructing a hotel and furnished apartments along with Shangri La Hotels.He said the authority would also develop Saadiyat island and other zones with residential, leisure and tourism complexes. Details will be made public shortly, he said. The growth in tourism sector will also stimulate the retail sector.

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Dubai Metro Network Project

Saturday, November 26, 2005

Recently have just found some information on the proposed Metro Network in Dubai, which is supposed to be completed by 2009.

Here's what it is supposed to look like:

The Dubai Metro Network will comprise two lines:

The Red Line will initially run from Salahuddin Rd to the American University of Dubai through Burjuman and Sheikh Zayed Rd, and will progressively be extended to Jebel Ali Port in the south and the intersection of Al Nahda and Damascus roads through Al Qiyadah intersection in the north.

The Green Line will initially run from Al Ittihad Square to Rashidiya bus station through Deira City Centre and the Airport Terminals 1 and 3, and will progressively be extended to serve the Deira and Bur Dubai central areas and Souks up to Burjuman and Wafi shopping centres.

The two lines will total nearly 70 km, with 35 stations along the 50-km long Red Line, and 22 along the 20-km long Green Line. The two transfer stations at Al Ittihad Square and Burjuman are common to both lines.

Also, a possible extension of the Green Line from Wafi to the projected Festival City development is under study.

The two lines will run underground in the city centre

The two lines will run elevated on a specially designed viaduct everywhere else. The viaduct design and aesthetics is being developed specifically to actually enhance the urban architecture along its corridor. Also, the tracks will not cross the public highway, which will ensure plenty of safety. The metro project should fit very well into Dubai's urban setting.

Here's a few pics of what it might look like:

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New Dubai Zoo to be Cageless

Monday, November 21, 2005

Dubai Municipality announced yesterday that it will soon begin building a new Dhs200 million ( 31,740,000.00 Gbp, Great British Pounds ) zoo at a site near Mushrif Park.

The new zoo, replacing the original on Jumeirah Road, will be designed as an ‘open’ zoo, free of cages and including natural features such as caves and water.

It will be simple but modern. A barrier free zoo that will include plenty of grassland for the animals,” a Municipality source said yesterday.

The announcement comes after almost two years of discussions over what to do with the more than 1,000 creatues housed in the Jumeirah enclosure, which was built in 1967.

Originally, the Municipality had plans for an one billion dirham wildlife park, designed by one of Europe’s top firms. However, following Dubailand’s announcement in 2004 that its development would include a wildlife park, the Municipality decided to rethink its plans.

Yesterday, Qassim Sultan, Director General of Dubai Municipality, said: “The new Dubai Zoo has the potential to become a landmark attraction for national and international visitors. It will serve a major tourism and visitor education function for all of the UAE.

The current Dubai Zoo attracted around 779,000 visitors in 2004. So far this year, 590,000 people have visited the zoo. But the cramped conditions in which its animals have been kept, due to the lack of space, has drawn criticism from Dubai residents.

Zoo staff have done their best to keep the animals well cared for despite being overwhelmed by the number of beasts being kept there - far more than the enclosure was originally designed for.

The zoo is the only sanctuary for the animals that find their way there, either through authorities discovering creatures illegally smuggled into the country or people realising that the exotic pet they bought has now become too large to take care of at home.

The new zoo will be built in two phases. The first phase involves basic “mobilisation works” while the second phase will include “construction activities” for the zoo and a botanical garden.

The zoo will include a 108 hectare Safari park and an extra 150 hectares will be set aside for future expansion.

The animals housed at the current zoo, including giraffes, tigers, bears ,cheetahs, a gorilla and a pigmy hippopotamus called Annie, will all eventually be moved to the new zoo once its ready. “It "It is unlikely that new animals will be brought in,” the Municipality source said.

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The latest Airbus 380-800 in service by Emirates

Sunday, November 20, 2005

The latest Boeing 380-800 which is as wide as a football field in service by Emirates Airlines, the International Airline of United Arab Emirates as seen at in Dubai International Airport.

Interior of the Airbus 380-800,

Airbus 380-800 landing at Dubai International Airport,

Schematic outline of the plane,

Airbus A380 and Boeing 747 graphic

On January 18 the Airbus A380 was officially revealed in a ceremony in Toulouse, France. The A380 represents one of the largest European industrial projects ever, and replaces the Boeing 747 as the world's largest airliner.

Table 1 compares the Airbus A380-800 to the Boeing 747-400ER.

Table 1: Jumbos compared. Sources: Airliners.net, Wikipedia.

Airbus A380-800 Boeing 747-400ER
Length 72.8 m 70.7 m
Height 24.1 m 19.4 m
Wingspan 79.8 m 64.4 m
Wing area 845 m2 541 m2
Cabin width 6.58 m 6.10 m
Operating empty 277,000 kg 181,755 kg
MTOW 540,000 kg 362,875 kg
No. engines 4 turbofans 4 turbofans
Max engine thrust 374 kN (84,000 lb) 276 kN (62,000 lb)
Cruising speed 902 km/h 907 km/h
Max speed 945 km/h 939 km/h
Range 14,800 km 14,205 km
Flightcrew 2 2
Seating (typical) 555 416 (23/78/315)
Seating (max) 840 568
Cargo N/A 137-158.6 m3

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How will the 'World' project affect Dubai

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

While there have been numerous articles written recently about the proliferation of artificial island projects, the astounding "The World" venture among them, few have addressed or assessed the environmental impact of such massive undertakings and the transformation of both the sea and landscape. Until recently, Nakheel, the government-controlled corporation developing these ambitious projects, has been able to focus predominantly on promoting rather than defending the islands, but new evidence of environmental detriment is bringing the company and its projects under fire from certain groups.

Inspired by the three artificial palm tree-themed islands projects that are nearing completion, The World is a heady $14 billion endeavor, consisting of 300 individual islands arranged to mimic the shape of the globe's landmasses. Ranging in size from five to 20 acres, and with 50 to 100 meters of water separating each island, the total area encompasses just over 20 square miles. The development is located about two and a half miles off the coast of Dubai city. Islands go for $7 million to $35 million each.

From the air, The World and Palm projects create a highly visible impression on the landscape of Dubai. And back down at sea level, significant changes in the marine environment are leaving a visual scar of another type. As a result of the dredging and redepositing of sand for the construction of the islands, the typically crystalline waters of the gulf of Dubai have become severely clouded with silt. Construction activity is damaging the marine habitat, burying coral reefs, oyster beds and subterranean fields of sea grass, threatening local marine species as well as other species dependent on them for food. Oyster beds have been covered in as much as two inches of sediment, while above water, beaches are eroding with the disruption of natural currents.

The profound underwater changes currently taking place as a result of construction are only matched by the grandiose vision of Nakheel developers. Plans for one palm island project, The Palm, Jumeirah, includes an artificial diving park complete with four themed areas from which enthusiasts can choose One area called Snorkler's Cove will feature traditional marine life as well as an added incentive--a daily deposit of a single solid gold one-kilogram bar, worth $15,629 at current gold prices. Developers also intend to transfer and sink several wrecks for a more dramatic diving experience. Project backers assert that such additions will actually help attract fish and other marine life by providing shelter and leading to reef expansion and community diversification.

This optimistic outlook aside, another archipelago project, the Palm Jebel Ali, is located in a formerly protected marine reserve. The management of Jebel Ali marine reserve, the Persian Gulf's second most biodiverse marine system, was taken away from the Dubai Municipality Protected Areas Unit and passed over to Nakheel developers to build the island. Few can argue that the replacement of these natural formations with artificial structures can be a true substitute for what is being destroyed and result in a net gain in marine biodiversity. Further, ecologists fear that standardizing of the marine environment will alienate native species and encourage the likely introduction of new, foreign and possibly destructive species.

Environmentalists' concerns about the present state of Dubai's waters are not without warrant. Coral reefs and their associated mangrove and sea grass habitats function on varied levels, providing a number of integral services. Among these values are the provision of food and shelter for a wide range of marine species, the protection of coastal regions from storms, the prevention of coastal erosion and the support of commercial fishing and recreational activities--namely scuba diving and sport fishing.

Troubled waters are nothing new for Dubai or any other marine region. The health of the coral reefs has been in a state of continuous decline over the past 50 years. The Arabian Gulf is one of the most grievously affected areas, with recent estimates of habitat loss pegged at 35 percent. Increases in temperature and salinity have previously been attributed as the leading factors in reef habitat degradation, but the new pressure from dredging serves only to exacerbate the declining state of the environment.

Nakheel concedes that its various artificial archipelago projects have indeed buried reefs and changed the environment, but argues that the company will try to alleviate and even reverse some of the detrimental effects by building artificial reefs upon completion of the islands. What is more, the company has employed a marine biologist to monitor and rehabilitate damaged reefs. Imad Haffar, the research and development manager of Nakheel predicts local fauna will flourish in the newly constructed environment, but ecologists fear otherwise.

Environmentalists and scuba divers alike report that so much silt has been stirred up from dredging that organisms and the reef itself are slowly being choked by the sediment particles. The current activity has essentially destroyed Dubai's diving industry even if temporarily, and enthusiasts have left the area for clearer waters. Once dredging and construction are complete, the waters should clear, but will anyone recognize what has been left behind?

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Artificial Reef Project in Dubai International Waters

Tuesday, November 15, 2005

Dubai is set to become a surfers paradise with plans in place to build an offshore reef that will produce major breaking waves.The contractors have already submitted bids to Dubai Municipality for the innovative project that is also being designed to encourage the growth of marine life off the Jumeirah and Umm Suqeim coastline.The firms hoping to land the project are Waagner Biro Gulf and Overseas AST.

The massive reef will be constructed using more than 130 geosynthetic containers and tubes that are filled with sand or stone and sunk to form a horseshoe shape on the seabed.

It will sit just below the low tide level and is designed to channel the flow of water and magnify the height of waves hitting the coast to up to 1.5 m. The company built the first sand filled structure on Australias Gold Coast in 1985, which extended for 100 m and produced waves of up to 6 m in height.

The 73,000 million structure planned for Dubai is likely to extend across 200 m and will be made up of containers that will be 25 m long and 3 m wide.

Trials undertaken so far have shown that the containers increase the number and diversity of marine fauna. The plan is set to be unveiled later this month when the worlds leading marine engineers descend on Dubai for the Arabian coast conference. This type of unit is increasingly being used as a replacement for rock and concrete because of the rising cost of these more traditional materials. A significant number of structures in the Australasian region have been constructed using sand-filled geosynthetic containers over the last 20 years.

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Dubai rent inflation restricted

General Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai Crown Prince, UAE Defence Minister and Chairman of the Dubai Executive Council, ordered yesterday that rent increases in all leased properties in Dubai must not exceed 15 per cent annually.

The order came into effect yesterday and will remain in force until the end of 2006. The order says that if property leasers or landlords decide to increase the rent for any property, it cannot exceed 15 per cent of the annual amount.

Shaikh Mohammad instructed authorities to implement the order, which came in line with his keenness to preserve social stability and reduce pressure on all sections of society. The decision also aims to reduce the burden on tenants.

Dubai residents welcomed the order and urged its strict implementation. Real estate agents told Gulf News that the decision will prevent tenants from "being exploited". They said the 15 per cent increase limit was "a fair thing" to impose on landlords.

he Rent Committee at Dubai Municipality will be the authorised body to to design a mechanism for swift implementation of the order, according to WAM.

A property market survey found that rents for one-, two- and three-bedroom apartments in Dubai rose by an average of 38 per cent over the last 12 months.

Rents for office space have also soared by an average of 29 per cent since October 2004.

Qasim Sultan, Director General of Dubai Municipality, told Gulf News that Shaikh Mohammad's order was timely.

"The maximum limit of 15 per cent rent increase will serve both landlords and tenants, and both have welcomed the decision. This step will help curb the 'rent race' being followed by some property owners to make money," he said.

Sultan said the decision is based on a study of the rent market in the emirate and it reflects Shaikh Mohammad's vision, which takes into consideration the interests of all parties.

Sultan said the Rent Committee would be an independent body to devise a proper mechanism to implement the order from the date of issuance.

Saeed Mohammad Al Kindi, chairman of the committee, said the decision would reflect positively on the property sector.

He said the committee would receive complaints regarding rent increases. "We respect the interests of both tenants and landlords and try to resolve rent disputes amicably," he said.

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