Saturday, 8 June 2013

Dubai was a fascinating place to visit in many ways. It is very cosmopolitan and has quickly become a global city in recent years promoting itself as a holiday and shopping destination. I was intrigued by the mix of ancient and modern culture that is apparent in the city. On the one hand there is evidence of wealth and prosperity in the skyscrapers and shopping malls that serve the affluent Emirates and the tourist population but there is also an underlying traditional culture present in the Souks and riverfront area. The divide between rich and poor is fairly obvious, as is the effect of the GFC. The newly developed part of the city is polished and gleaming but there were many poorer areas that reminded me of cities I had visited in Asia (in need of repair and upgrading of infrastructure).  The mall that we visited reminded me of a similar large shopping mall in Las Vegas and had no cultural resonance, we could have been anywhere in the world. In fact I would bet that it was developed by the same company as the Las Vegas mall as it was almost a carbon copy.  Although there are many who  visit Dubai solely for tourism purposes it did not really appeal to me however it was very relevant to the planning course and provides great examples of modern building practices (if somewhat extreme). I would visit again just to explore the  development of the city in more depth.
- Gina Triolo (Bachelor of Urban, Rural and Environmental Planning)