Though the burgeoning city-state of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates may be many wondrous things, a haven for green development and sustainability has not been one of them. In almost the blink of an eye Dubai has evolved from a small brown desert port into a glistening jungle of glass and steel skyscrapers rising from the Earth and carving their way into the heavens. Such a rapid pace and sheer monumental scope of the city’s development has taken a toll on the environment, and little care has historically been taken to conserve resources or protect the environment. All of that is changing now, as His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum decreed in 2007 that all real estate would be held to stringent environmental and sustainability guidelines, and has plans to tighten those guidelines by 2015. While that is all well and good in theory, how is it that Dubai is planning to implement these changes?
Burj al-Taqa and Oasis Tower
While the world was impacted by the global economic crisis in 2008, many of Dubai’s real estate ventures were delayed or suspended as the sources of revenue dried up. As their economy is bursting back to life, many are being picked back up and the Burj al-Taqa and Oasis Tower plans are poster children for Dubai’s greener image. You can check out some great green Real Estate Ventures here at AAJ Propertys.
Burj al-Taqa is proposed to be a 322 metre high skyscraper that will revolutionize the way that Dubai efficiently utilizes its natural resources, while reducing its negative environmental impact. The building will be created in a cylindrical shape which will allow for natural lighting, while avoiding excessive exposure of the frame to the high heats of the Dubai sun; the windows will be treated with mineral coating to further reduce solar gain. Burj al-Taqa will be outfitted with an extensive array of solar panels as well as wind turbines that will allow it to generate its own energy without requiring any outside source.
The Oasis Tower is a vision of sustainability more in line with the fantastical and almost whimsical designs that have become iconic of Dubai’s monumental architecture. The tower’s structure will be comprised of three spiraling towers around a large central tower. Wind turbines will be located between each level of the central tower while grey water and waste will be treated and recycled for use within the building. This grand oasis is designated to become a farm that will be capable of supporting 40,000 people, further reducing the impact Dubai has on the world’s resources.
A new addition is being added to the gargantuan project that is to become Dubailand, the world’s largest theme park. Xeritown will become a haven and sanctuary for eco-tourists from all over the globe. This 59 hectare city will be designed to be inhabited by up to 7000 residents and will include a museum dedicated to the natural life of the Arabian Desert. The design of the town is optimized to make use of the environment by utilizing only local plants that have adapted to the unique desert conditions. Additionally the landscaping and orientation of the buildings will be carefully engineered to channel the cool breezes of the Persian Gulf and block the hot desert winds, creating a natural ventilation system that will be incorporated into the design of each building as well. Each building will be tall enough to create peak opportunities for shade along the city’s walkways. To discourage the high rate of automobile reliance prevalent throughout Dubai, the streets will be limited to small two lane roads and public transportation will be located throughout Xeritown.
Dubai does not have much of a record for being a leader in environmentalism in the world, but it has proven quite adept at drastically altering its image and direction overnight. With the speed and success of their metamorphosis into a modern metropolis, coupled with their partnership to grow Middle Eastern sustainability with neighboring Abu Dhabi, I wouldn’t doubt their ability to manifest these changes. As the world continues to lurch forward into the 21st century, Dubai will be the leading force for innovation in many aspects, and green development can most certainly be one of them.
Banner photo by Darla Hueske