Opinion

Care in the community is vital for Dubai

Welcome to the first issue of ME Consultant of 2015. The New Year brings new aspirations for the key players in the construction industry. One company with an important 12 months ahead is Meraas.

Having delivered The Beach at JBR to widespread acclaim from residents and construction professionals alike, the focus will now switch to Citywalk in Jumeirah, which many will expect to progress in a similarly rapid and impressive fashion.

As a resident of Dubai Marina, I am constantly amazed by the developer’s ambition, boldness and vision. The manner in which The Beach sprang up in a matter of months was, quite simply, jawdropping. This boldness is perhaps most evident in its Bluewaters scheme, a man-made island, offshore from JBR, which is set to contain the world’s largest Ferris wheel.

I have the dubious privilege of watching the construction work unfold from the vantage point of my balcony. While it is strangely captivating to keep track of the humongous cranes and the structures rising up, I fear my sleep will diminish exponentially as the project kicks into overdrive.

Although Bluewaters will undoubtedly be impressive, my feeling so far is that Citywalk will be more of an asset to the emirate. One of this month’s interviewees, Woods Bagot design director Richard Fenne, proclaims it a “vibrant new community” for Dubai. I feel that ‘community’ is the operative word.

What is often missing in Dubai – certainly in newer parts of the city – is a sense of community. I am far more interested and excited by projects that create a real piece of city – which embrace the outdoors – than flashy mega-malls or theme parks.

Yet with the city rapidly maturing, I am optimistic that 2015 will see more community-minded developments emerge in the emirate.

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