A Rich Man’s Island:
An In-depth Analysis of How the Expansion of Dubai Created an Exclusionary Space Environment Over the past twenty years, Dubai has grown massively. During the early 1990’s, Dubai was a desert area. It did not have many residents or businesses. However, within the past decade, the economy of Dubai, Emirate, which is considered the trade and tourism center for the Gulf region, has achieved a growth many cities see in a lifetime. At one point Dubai consisted of average middle class men. Now, with its prosperous economy, Dubai consists of many wealthy and rich people. Many people believe that to live in Dubai or even to travel to Dubai, you must be from the upper class. As a result, these restrictions create an exclusionary environment. The Palm Islands, which are artificially constructed islands, exemplify the exclusionary space that was created along with Dubai’s expansion. It is clear that these lavishes are mainly for the wealthy. The islands and many other areas in Dubai pose a restriction amongst the lower class. These types of defensible spaces create a disintegrated society causing a bigger gap between the rich and the poor. Dubai went beyond the “middle-class” era and is now moving up the ranks with its bountiful architecture, yet creating disintegration amongst the Dubai community. Over the past ten years, Dubai, UAE (United Arab Emirates) has expanded to a level many believed could never have become possible. The city is one of the seven emirate cities in UAE, and it is located along the southern coast of the Persian Gulf and the Arabian Peninsula. Dubai began life as a small port and collection of palm frond houses clustered around the Creek. By the late 1970’s, Dubai was still a desert waste with very few residents or businesses. However, the transformation of Dubai began in the late 1970’s as the city discovered massive amounts of oil underneath its land (Jaffar 2). Dubai took advantage of their oil-filled land and exported its oil across the world. The discovery of oil brought a new era of prosperity to Dubai. Although the city is known for its oil production, Dubai is also the center of all trade because of its location in the middle of the Arabian Gulf. Situated between the east and the west, the city for centuries has been a convenient stopping point for global traders. Over the past several years, it ranks amongst the world’s busiest trading centers, serving a large and rapidly developing economic region. This gave the city a dramatic start after the explosion of the wealth brought on by the oil production. As a result, Dubai has expanded far beyond anyone’s imagination. The city thrives on newness and bigness, in an act of ongoing self-stylization and fantasy. In this “theme park” oriented city, there is no difference between old and new. Everything is recent. As a result, the design and architecture of Dubai transformed public space to exclusionary space allowing only the wealthy to prosper. Thus, the contemporary design of Dubai has created a segmented society. A community is a social group of any size whose members reside in a common place with the same government and usually have the same social values. Communities form in public spaces, and public space relates to the concept of freedom. This idea of such space lacks restrictions in a certain regional area. In his essay, “Cultural Infrastructure: The Legacy of New Deal Public Space”, Leighninger illustrates how public space creates integration. He states, “parks, community centers, and museums are among the newly created places where people of all ages, classes, and races now come together. Besides spending money, the main activity afforded by these public spaces is walking and hanging out” (Leighninger 232). All around us we have “places” that are considered public spaces, such as parks, roads, and markets. These spaces allow all types of people to walk freely around the area without any limitations or restrictions. They offer a...
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