Tourismscape of the Palm Island – Programmatic intensity and Consumerism

Nakheel : “the project will promote Dubai worldwide, it will encourage tourism, it will encourage business people”

Figure 1. Advertisement found on official advertisement leaflet (Source : Palm Jumeirah Tourist Center)

Tourismscape is of an utmost importance when it comes to Palm Island as an engine to drive the tourism in Dubai. The intensive programs and its relationship to other nodes in the city have been vital to the survival or success of the economy of the emirate. Tourismscape can be conceived as a landscape of tourism, where a classic portfolio of tourist activities can be found. (Figure. 1) The city is now a destination where everything is there and poised to be consumed. Eating, sleeping, buying and sightseeing are the points where consumerism is activated, which in turns drive the economy of the city.


Islands are no longer perceived as places nor space, but nodes at which tourist can quench their thirst of consuming. These extremely concentrated nodes could range from luxury hotel, private residence, cinema, museum etc., which can all be found on different islands. These destinations are represented, visually on the tourist guides, as points that tourist could check and complete, and then move on to the next one by the robust network of infrastructure built around them. (Figure 2.)

Figure 2. Connections between city and Palm Islands (Source: SMAQ)


The intensity of cross-programming can be manifested from the link between islands and city, which is full-fledged monorail and ferry system. There is an extremely robust network that pushes tourists into the endless spiral of consumption, such as West corridor, Northern link, Lagoon radial link and Downtown loop. Since the inherent function of the island is mainly residential, many new islands were built around it as augmentation, which serve different function part from residence, intensifying its function as a tourist destination.



Elsheshtawy, Y. (2004). Planning Middle Eastern cities : an urban kaleidoscope in a globalizing world. Jstor.

SMAQ. (2012). Charter of Dubai : a manifesto of critical urban transformation. Jovis

1 Comment on “Tourismscape of the Palm Island – Programmatic intensity and Consumerism

  1. Tourismscape is one of the most intriguing phenomenon in modern day planning. When reading it, the approach is rather objective. I would have been interesting if you took a more inquisitive approach to to consumerism aspect of the topic (such as the relation of the souks, to the Dubai Mall etc) and link it back to the Palm Islands. This is just a thought.

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