Instant City: Dubai’s Social Disintegration

Instant City: Dubai’s Social Disintegration
The current Dubai

The development of Dubai had resulted in the segregation of classes, mostly between local Arabs and immigrants who forms the majority of workforce in the real estate development. The image as portrayed by Dubai as a land for millionaires represents the locals while the hidden image of poverty are represented by the poor. Issues like this is what the Dubai government is constantly covering and ignoring through efforts such as not mapping out the poor regions on maps while constantly focusing on its prime area and loose laws and poor human rights practice towards the poor.

This constant ignorance and development in the city would only lead to the increase in the numbers of labor camps that would create a contradicting image of the city. The questions that arises right now would be how labor camps continue to grow with this constant state of development in the city? Would the continuous development of the city only lead to increase number of labor camps? Would Dubai become the next India or Rio de Janeiro where the huge gap between the rich and poor is at obvious?

The diagram below shows both map produced by the government to show the future of its city and mapping of current labor camps with potential labor sites that suggest the future growth pattern of the camps.

 

Labour Camp Mapping
The red highlighted region represents the largest labor camp in Dubai currently which is known as Sonapur Camp. Blue region represents potential site for labor camps to be built with red arrows showing the direction of growth of the city which is away from the city center. It can be seen that the plan as produced by the government (in colour) only focuses on the city center while neglecting the rest of the region.

Image Reference:

  1. Tai Nicholas Han Vern, The University of Hong Kong, 2015
  2. Google Earth Pro, 2015
  3. Dubai Municipality, Dubai’s Future Planning, 2003, https://www.google.com.hk/url?sa=i&rct=j&q=&esrc=s&source=images&cd=&cad=rja&uact=8&ved=0ahUKEwiPxr3Svt_JAhUJGJQKHYppAQIQjRwIBw&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.rudi.net%2Fnode%2F17346&psig=AFQjCNGfAC_whINzzdchbytBIJVV-d-OTw&ust=1450324584312140, accessed in 7th December 2015

 

 

photo30-e1331108320317-410x550
The workers in Dubai are usually labors from neighboring countries such as India and Pakistan with no direct contact between them and the locals. This created a huge social gap in between . 

Image Reference: Grace, Dubai Street Cleaner, 2012, http://sandierpastures.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/photo30-e1331108320317-410×550.jpg, Accessed on 16th December 2015.

 

Although Dubai is seen as one of the most developed nation in the world, the segregation between the rich and the poor is obvious for those who are observant enough. With no direct communication between the lower class (mostly workers that contribute in maintaining both private and public properties like cleaners and contractors), visitors to the city would have no clue on the actual situation. It seems that the efforts of the government so far has been a successful one, but how long will it take for people to realize of what is hidden behind all these lavish lifestyle.

 

 

5 Comments on “Instant City: Dubai’s Social Disintegration

  1. There are always one face of the city the government does not want to present it as part of their ‘official image’. The narrative gives a clear argument of the phenomenon. Historical support of why such event happened will be useful in understanding why Dubai needed a radical change from an oil-exporting country.

    • The image of Dubai kept changing in everyone’s mind as it is a city full of sky scraper as well as having another side of it as a total desert. I think that history of Dubai is “debatable” — it does not have a long history like the Eastern of Western world, however it has a short, yet transforming-in-a-lightening-speed history of just two decades.

      photo comparison of Dubai from every five years shows an extremely large difference. I once came across with an article about the “Dubailism”, it says something like “one will not be remembered if they ranked second, therefore we have to struggle and strive to become the first”. I am not sure is it because of they think they did not have “remarkable” history that can place themselves in the international stage under the spot-light, therefore they “create” them. Maybe this is due to their history, or perhaps this is because of their culture, which drive them to have such attitude and ways of thinking.

      Dubai has a lot of “1st”. The most well-known ones will be the largest indoor ski park, largest shopping mall, tallest tower, biggest man-made island, largest tank with largest number of ocean creature exhibited in the mall…etc. It is interesting to see how big companies move in because of different investment and innovative project, which also attracted a lot of overseas worker for job-opportunities.

      From what I heard in my visit back in 2010, in Dubai, at one point, most of the project work 24-hour a day. It is because there are a lot of workers and the project have to be done as soon as possible. Therefore, they take shift in order to let the project run at its highest efficiency. However in 2010 it is already not the economic peak of Dubai. I believe the peak was still around 2007-08, 2009-10 was kind of a slight fall already. Due to the economic crisis, there are projects which has to stop due to lack of investment, and this has made Dubai slowly walk down slope.

      From the recent years we can see the downfall of Dubai’s general economy, and it is still falling slightly year to year. It is exciting to see when this middle east city with more foreigners than local peak once again. While everyone anticipate such moment to come, will this ever be possible? Or being the peak is already history of Dubai since the tallest building in the world “The Clock Tower” is already under construction in Saudi Arabia (and aim to complete by 2018) ?

      • Judy I believe the projects you mentioned are all first class in their own ways. However what Nicholas has raised here is the concern of the general public. The people of the emirate do not visit the indoor ski park once a week, nor do they care about who comes top of the skyscraper list. The lack of income and corporation tax attractted households and corporations to save and invest money respectively. however this is also increasing the inequality within the segregated parties.

      • Judy I believe the projects you mentioned are all first class in their own ways. However what Nicholas has raised here is the concern of the general public. The people of the emirate do not visit the indoor ski park once a week, nor do they care about who comes top of the skyscraper list. The lack of income and corporation tax attracted households and corporations to save and invest money respectively. however this is also increasing the inequality within the segregated parties.

  2. Both of you guys do make a point. In fact, I think that both arguments come along together to strengthen up my argument even more, which is about how the existence of mega projects result in social segregation in the state. This is a problem that the government tries to cover but it had since become more and more obvious as more developments come by. The future of these lower class individuals are uncertain at this period of time but what is certain now is their living conditions and social status in the state which is being discussed by Ravin Raori (Narratives).

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