With Kylie Minogue, Charlize Theron, Shirley Bassey, Michael Jordan and Robert De Niro in attendance and a fireworks display literally visible from space, the $20 million opening party for the Atlantis Resort on Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah islands last month seemed a fittingly extravagant farewell to Dubai’s construction adolescence. With the UAE’s supposedly impermeable economy feeling the strain together with the rest of the world, Dubai has been forced to redress construction behaviour.
Entering what is set to become a much more responsible and forward thinking era for the construction industry, Dubai is to take sustainability into its remit with its latest island development ‘The Universe’. Situated inshore from the ‘World’ islands and depicting the Universe with a sun, stars and planets, the Universe is to be one of the flagship developments for Dubai’s new ‘Blue Communities’ initiative launched by Dubai’s largest developer, Nakheel.
Developed specifically to help maintain and protect the world’s coastlines, Blue Communities aims to bring ‘blue’ issues into the wider public and encourage innovations in the protection of coastal waters. Awaiting the results of a feasibility study and an environmental study, the Universe master plan will be created and developed to employ ecological initiatives from the Blue Communities steering group.
“Blue Communities is starting to provide the platform for everyone who cares about our seas and coastlines,” say the organisation. “We are engaging experts – such as leading academic Dr Farouk El-Baz. Most famous for his work with NASA, he is coordinating the team of expert scientists who will spearhead a lot of our work.
“Beyond the scientific community, we have already brought together government ministers, NGOs, philosophers, even poets and photographers, to start defining standards and guidelines for coastal development. A steering committee has been appointed to validate goals and strategies. We have also received valuable input from businesses including Siemens, IBM and Atlantis Hotels. It is by bringing all points of view together that we can forge the most effective set of benchmarks and create a truly workable Global Charter.”
Niki May Young