Term Paper: Dubai Building Tomorrow's City Today

Pages: 12 (3941 words)  ·  Bibliography Sources: 1+  ·  Level: College Senior  ·  Topic: Energy  ·  Buy This Paper

Dubai

There certainly seems to be a pattern within human civilization that encourages each society to attempt to make their mark upon the world. Through the ages, such marks have come in many forms; the Great Pyramids of Egypt, the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, the Colossus of Rhodes, and the Eiffel Tower of Paris have all represented something more significant and lasting than the mere practical purposes that each monument served. Through history, specifically what the criteria for judging a human creation as a wonder doubtlessly involves the fusion of artistic form, technological or engineering expertise, and sheer enormity. Accordingly, it should not be surprising that modern societies have made analogous testaments to their power, greatness, and audacity. The fact is that in the ancient world as well as in the modern world, people continue to be attracted to such dramatic demonstrations of human ingenuity; the result, particularly in the emerging global economy, is that modern wonders of the world possess the capacity to generate substantial profit for those bold enough to undertake them. The Palm Islands in Dubai fit this mold for the third millennium: they are grandiose, beautiful, and enormous; additionally, they promise to maintain Dubai's emerging economy well after the world's oil supply fails.

It is noteworthy that exactly what makes the Palm Islands in Dubai exceedingly attractive to tourists and foreign investors is that building and maintaining them is a gamble in the extreme. It is difficult to imagine a democratic nation making such a decisive and risky economic move or to imagine another governmental organization looking so far to the future. One major drawback of a democratic nation under a capitalistic economy is that short-term gains emerge as the primary impetus for change. Accordingly, western nations have not formulated realistic plans for major long-term dilemmas: no western nation has put forward an effective answer for supplying the world's power needs after fossil fuels begin to run out or an effective means to minimize the human influence on the global climate. Doubtlessly, this can be seen as a consequence of the sort-term demands upon capitalistic ventures as well as those upon individual political leaders, forced to worry about upcoming elections more than emerging issues half a century away. The advantage of having a Crown Prince, in this respect, is that they are forced to look towards maintaining their regimes on the scale of lifetimes. So, the fantastic scale upon which the Palm Island and the World Islands in Dubai have been organized must be perceived as a dramatic reaction to expansive trends in the global economy measured in upcoming decades.

The driving force that has ultimately resulted in the Palm Islands is the upcoming world energy problem. It has been estimated that the oil reserves within Dubai are likely to run out by 2016, should the world continue to consume oil at the rate reached by 1990. However, an additional trouble is that the world continues to consume fossil fuels at an exponential rate; as developing worlds act to catch-up with the western powers, they simultaneously act to increase global dependence upon oil. Also, western usages of electricity have continued to increase as internet technologies have caused industrial and domestic usages of electricity to steadily rise. The ultimate result is that as oil is beginning to run out, the world's consumption of oil is increasing at such a rate that even if immediate measures were taken to find alternate energy sources, the ongoing wave of consumption could not be ceased. Obviously, such doomsday proclamations fail to be congruous with the role that western politicians desire to fill; no one wants to be the leader to declare that a great cataclysm is about to fall upon the world. So, while most democratic nations see fit to debate the scientific validity of global warming and the projections regarding oil reserves, more despotic nations are able to act with more alacrity.

Accordingly, under the guidance of Crown Prince Shaikh Mohammad Bin

Rashid Al Maktoum, Dubai's coastline is undergoing a dramatic change in an attempt to compensate for the lost income that will befall the nation around 2016. The Crown Prince is seeking an alternative way to generate this income; he wants Dubai to become the tourist capital to the world. In order to accomplish this he needs two things: a longer coastline, and a unique wonder to draw people interested in the rare accomplishments of mankind. The Palm Islands satisfy both of these demands by both increasing the length of the famous Dubai beaches by more than a factor of ten, and by simply being an aesthetic engineering feat. Ultimately, it is these practical demands for a thriving economy that has spurred the transformation of Dubai's coastline and promises to supply one of the wonders of the modern world.

Generally, the current problem with energy is both economic and environmental. Alternatives to oil must be found and incorporated into our existing systems of distribution to, first, reduce our dependence on a foreign and finite resource, and second, to cease the emission of harmful chemicals into our environment. A number of energy sources that are currently being offered by western politicians include: cold fusion, fuel cells, and biomass. Yet, these possibilities can be presently disregarded because none of them have yet been perfected or demonstrated to be cleaner, cheaper, safer, or more sustainable than any of the currently used methods. Certainly, it is possible that one or more of these options may be demonstrated to someday present real energy alternatives, but that day is not yet here. Cold fusion is still languishing in theoretical form; fuel cells require the costly process of generating pure hydrogen; and biomass resources have yet to significantly eliminate harmful byproducts. The most reasonable forms of energy to be utilized in the near future are natural gas, coal, and nuclear; with some -- limited -- room for wind, geothermal, solar, and hydroelectric.

Centrally, fundamental changes to the social order of the world are underway, and the approach of the Crown Prince of Dubai seems to reflect the differing capacities of political organizations to address these changes. This is not to say, of course, that prominent citizens of the Untied States and European nations have not urged democratic countries to look towards the future in similar ways. Richard Heinberg's book The Party's Over: Oil, War and the Fate of Industrial Societies, for example, presents a comprehensive and insightful look into the fundamental way society has been structured for the past one-hundred and fifty years, and how our way of life now rests on the brink of monumental change. Simply put, the book discusses the role of oil in the world. However, unlike many of the book's predecessors, Heinberg makes sure that The Party's Over takes a broader point-of-view regarding global warming and avoids the drawbacks of finger-pointing. His argument is not centrally that our consumption of fossil fuels is leading to irreversible climate shifts -- although he acknowledges that it is -- and his argument is not that political conservatism and liberal economics have doomed the future of mankind. Instead, Heinberg takes a more historical perspective: he illustrates the age of industrialization as having stemmed from certain abundant energy sources, and that we now have very nearly reached the end of this particular social order. In other words, the progression of the industrial age has inevitably brought us to this point: the global climate will change, the social order will change, and there will be war. This is a bold line of reasoning, and it somehow seems more at home in nations with a decisive leader willing to drastically alter its economic base. Whereas, in the United States, it would be virtually impossible to find a leader willing to embrace such a point-of-view regarding world history, Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum and his four sons have already undertaken the construction of the city of tomorrow today.

Broadly, this answers one of the pressing questions when discussing the Palm Islands of Dubai; namely: why Dubai? There are beautiful coastlines across the United States and other democratic nations that could potentially serve to build such a wonder of the modern world. However, undertaking this project, it would seem, is simply too risky to expect it to be agreed upon democratically. The cost, thus far, has been estimated at 1.8 billion dollars; far too much to have invested if it is presumed that oil resources are boundless -- which seems to be the position of the Bush administration and most of the U.S. government. "And a 10-billion dollar project to build a new city called Dubai Marina is already well underway. It is to house 100,000 people around a huge water basin within a decade." Also, the third addition to the Dubai coastline is intended to be a reconstruction of the world's continents: "The World is a heady $14 billion endeavor, consisting of 300 individual islands arranged to mimic the shape of the globe's landmasses."

Furthermore, it is not… [END OF PREVIEW]

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