FROM A DESERT CITY TO A WORLD-CLASS METROPOLIS | The Plan
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FROM A DESERT CITY TO A WORLD-CLASS METROPOLIS

FROM A DESERT CITY TO A WORLD-CLASS METROPOLIS
By Catherine Belbin -

Contrary to popular belief the rise of Dubai to one of the most popular and aspirational cities of the world did not happen overnight. Nor is it just the result of having excess petrol dollars. The transformation from fishing and trading port to energetic, pioneering world-class 21st-century metropolis has resulted from a series of strategic decisions that have been based more on wisdom and ambition than scientific calculations. Since the opening of the Atkins-designed 321-meter-tall Burj Al Arab in 1999 - the world’s only seven-star hotel, with ostentatious and bold interiors by Khuan Chew - the city took on a much more glamorous status. The iconic building attracted Bollywood, Hollywood and indeed Italian Cinecittà celebrities, as well as Russian oligarchs and British football players... all of whom wanted to be seen enjoying this sleek new destination. The strategic development of the tourism sector was based on the hard reality that the emirate’s oil-based economy needed to diversify if the city was to continue growing. This major foray into the sun, sea and sand tourist market was possible not only because of the increasing number of luxury beach-fronted hotels; it was also due to the infrastructure that remains at the heart of the city’s growth... The late Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, founding father of Dubai, is credited with laying many of the foundations that have created the Dubai that we know today. Sheikh Rashid was driven by his wisdom and vision, a straightforward man yet learned man who saw a bright future beyond the sand dunes that surrounded the dusty city. He initiated the Dubai Dry Dock, the Jebel Ali Port and Free Trade Zone, and the deepening and widening of the Dubai Creek, around which most of the early settlement was concentrated. This led to the expansion of Dubai International Airport, the road networks, and the creation of the essential DUBAL Dubai Aluminium smelter that also generates the desalinated...

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