Dubai/ Impact of the John Harris Master Plan in Housing Planning II

Evaluating the impact of John Harris Master Plan to Dubai, whether the master plan is a successful case in transforming Dubai is one of the important issues to tackle on. Not only whether the master plan is executed according to John Harris’s vision, also it is to evaluate whether it is sufficient to cope with the rapid population growth of Dubai. John Harris set a framework when designing the master plan for Dubai, which is to control the population growth within 200,000 in 20 years. However, according to the statistics, in 1985, the population in Dubai has reached up to 370,800. In 20 years, the percentage of population growth went over 300%. Although the master plan was created to be adaptable and flexible to this unexpected population growth, it is to be questioned whether the master plan was capable to tackle the drastic population growth.  The master plan created the road networks which are still visible in Dubai today. However, the green corridors, sustainable features of the city and connection to the water are still unseen in Dubai. Dubai used to have one main city where all other communities depended on it. However, after the discovery of oil, we could see that there is a decentralization happening, creating suburban areas.

Culturally, in the residential districts, the policies also encourages local and expatriate living in the residential areas and relocating the nationals to the inner city. By mixing the nationalities, the master plan would like to tackle the problem of segregation. The housing need of expatriates and locals is one of the issues still seen nowadays.

Since the 1980s, over five different development plans has been implemented. It was to be questioned, do these plans be responsible for the current situation of Dubai, where the city lack of urban form. As mentioned previously, the master plan failed to accommodate the rapid population growth as well as balancing different nationals for housing. Although in terms of economic development, Dubai has been greatly advanced and the GDP growth rate was very much higher than that is in the 1970s, it might still seem to be a failure in the master plan of Dubai, where the social aspect of Dubai is not thoroughly developed. The downside of the master plan might seem to be an unsuccessful case in urban plan. However, taking the advantage of economic development in Dubai, it might be an opportunity to fix these social problems in long run, for example implementing new urban strategies in the 2020 plan.

There are many criticisms of Dubai in how it evolved from a clustered city into a generic 21st-century metropolis. In the 2020 Master Plan for Dubai, they would like to tackle the problem in multiple aspects, improving the social, economic and environmental sustainability through transportation, housing, cultural integration and waste management. This plan is developed by Dubai Municipality in cooperation with different authorities. It would also be a good comparison with the master plan designed by John Harris, whether it could retain the local characteristics of Dubai when the Master Plan is designed by an Australian firm URBIS.

1 Comment on “Dubai/ Impact of the John Harris Master Plan in Housing Planning II

  1. According to the post, it can be seen that the main problem revolves around Dubai is the problem of over-population. A huge underestimation causing a scarcity of greenery, public spaces and waste management. Yet, at the same time with the discovery of oil, the city decentralized. Despite the cause-effect relationship was not clearly explained, decentralization seems to be a positive outcome. Since lots of famous planners like Ebenezer Howard or Le Corbusier, decentralization is always one of the goal/solution to prevent a over-populated city from being over-congested. And hence minimize the possibility of slums and diseases.
    Having Australian to do the urban planning might raise the questions of familiarity, since they are foreigners after all. Yet, base the information giving within the post. The responsible local authorities seems not to have a exquisite understanding of the Dubai as well. If that is the case, having URBIS to design the master plan may still end up great results, even the undefined local characteristics of Dubai is out of the considerations.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.