Dubai (2003-2012) / Business Bay / Zone Planning of Business Bay under Globalization

Established in 2003,[1] Business Bay is mainly developed by one of the three major developers controlled by Dubai government, Dubai Properties, a subsidiary company of Dubai Holdings.[2] The whole project occupies 64 million square feet which runs from the Sheikh Zayed Road to Ras Al Khor and Al Khail Road.[3] According to Business Bay Office, ‘Business Bay is part of the vision of His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashed Al Maktoum, UAE Vice President, Prime Minister, Minister of Defence, and Ruler of Dubai.’, which is to make Business Bay as ‘regional business capital as well as a freehold city’. [4]

The master plan of the Business Bay showed a water-body based planning within the district, indicating that the extension of the Creek was an essential sub-project within the whole project. The main drainage basin of the extension of the Creek was planned first and then several layers of commercial and residential projects would be planned along the river, in a way just like the beginning of the urban fabric along the old Creek.  Other than the existing high ways, Sheikh Zayed Road and Al Khail Road, the water transportation created by the extension project would become another essential means to connect the proposed business bay to other parts of the city.[5] It was the demands of a better connectivity for the economy development under the phase of globalization that promoted the extension of the Creek. As is reported by Gulf News. ‘The Creek extension to the Arabian Gulf through Business Bay will provide an alternative mode of water transport for residents and tourists.’[6] The Sheikh Zayed Road on the one hand separates the old urban fabric on the north-west side, on the other hand would be made use of as the new international commercial core since 1980s, so the business district can be connected and expand in order to form a large commercial and business area together with the downtown Dubai and DIFC.[7]

Dubai / Master Plan of Business Bay from
Dubai / Master Plan of Business Bay from

Sub bays and a network of canals were proposed in the extension project of the Creek in this master plan, in order to enlarge the waterfront area which can be shared by all buildings. [8]  Water here is not only used as the means of transportation and connectivity, but also as the recreation and urban landscape to guarantee the high living and working quality in this area, furtherly guarantee the attraction of investment.[9] Other than using the infrastructure as the physical insurance for the development of urban economics, constructing a beautiful and attractive environment for investment became an important focus point in the planning of the project.

The developer proposed 240 buildings in the Business Bay project, including residential building and commercial building.[10] The whole area is planned to have 22.1% for residential, 18.5% for commercial and 59.4% for mixed use.[11] Considering the strategic positioning of business bay, the high class, luxury feature of all buildings in this plan and the policy of freehold by foreigners in this area, the whole zone can be considered as a pure business oriented zone controlled by the government which directly responds to globalization and capital power. The conception of ‘mini Manhattan’ made most of the buildings in this area sky scrapers in a relatively disconnected way, which can be traced back to Rem Koolhaas’ vision of Vertical Schism, especially for those mixed use project.[12] With all infrastructure being completed in 2008, the entire construction was expected to be finished between 2012-2015.[13] This rapid and neat development shows how capital works as the purpose and medium to stimulate the sprawl of the city in Dubai.

Dubai / construction of Business Bay from 2003 to 2012 from google earth
Dubai / construction of Business Bay from 2003 to 2012 from google earth




[1] “Business Bay, Dubai UAE,” Business Dubai, accessed December 9, 2016,

[2] “Business Bay,” 2daydubai, accessed December 9, 2016,

[3] “About Business Bay,” Business Bay Office, accessed December 9, 2016,

[4] “About Business Bay.”

[5] “Business Bay.”

[6] “Water transport along the creek,” Gulf News Transport, May 3, 2009, accessed December 9, 2016,

[7] “Business Bay.”

[8] “Business Bay.”

[9] “Business Bay.”

[10] “About Business Bay.”

[11] “Business Bay, Dubai UAE.”

[12] Rem Koolhaas, Delirious New York: a retroactive manifesto for Manhattan, (The Monacelli Press, LLC, 2014), 105-107.

[13] “About Business Bay.”



2daydubai. “Business Bay.”accessed December 9, 2016.

Business Bay Office. “About Business Bay.” accessed December 9, 2016.

Business Dubai. “Business Bay, Dubai UAE.” accessed December 9, 2016.

Koolhaas, Rem. Delirious New York: a retroactive manifesto for Manhattan. The Monacelli Press, LLC, 2014.

“Water transport along the creek.” Gulf News Transport. May 3, 2009. accessed December 9, 2016.


2 Comments on “Dubai (2003-2012) / Business Bay / Zone Planning of Business Bay under Globalization

  1. From this post and the previous one introducing the early development of Dubai around the Creek, we can see that both the indigenous settlement and the new whole-scale planning are highly based on the water body. But to some extent the Creek is a very capricious environmental condition especially in the 21st century when global climate is experiencing a rather drastic change. Venice is a representative example in which part of the urban fabric will be lost as the sea level continues to raise. So here comes the question that is there any foresight in this development scheme that deals with the possible change of the Creek in the future? Or is there any attempt to make Dubai a environmental friendly city besides all the efforts to make it a global business bay? And and I think it will be interesting to investigate what could be the possible solution or alternative for Dubai to seek further prosperity if the present natural advantage is lost in the end of this study.

    • Thank you for your comment and advice. According to the vision of Dubai’s government, the final goal of the extension project of the Creek is to create a loop and therefore an island can be created in the middle.(according to 2daydubai) In terms of the environmental problem and the change of global environment, I think it is really an important factor influencing much on the future development of Dubai. However, we also noticed that the development of Dubai in its history was always through a way to adapt to and change the nature with its hostile natural environment. So the scheme can always be changed to adapt to the change of natural or economic environment. I think Dubai might spend much on the investment to improve the overall environment of the free zones, especially Business Bay with its high strategic position to attract the investment.

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