Dubai / Palm Jumeirah / 2001-2006 / City as a model (I)

Dubai’s unique urban development and its commercial success is gaining attention and even spreading to other parts of the world. Emergence of terms like ‘Dubaization’ and ‘Dubaification’ all illustrate the becoming of Dubai as a model whom others can learn from.

First introduced in 2004 by Yasser Elsheshtawy, ‘Dubaization’ simply refers to the proliferation and glorification of mega projects within Dubai itself, such as high rise buildings, skyscrapers and large scale offshore islands (1). However, the meaning it bears has evolved since then. Not only does it now refer to local initiated developments of Dubai, but also Dubai’s influence on other countries. For example, the economic success of Dubai caught the envy eyes of other middle eastern countries who wish to imitate Dubai by sculpting a similar skyline. Becoming the ‘Dubai of Africa’ is also a title that cities such as Sudan, Nigeria and Angola are battling for (2). The Dubai-style of development is no longer confined within the city itself, but spreading around the world thanks to local real estate companies for exporting their urban planning ideas.

Image 1.Dubaization

The Palm Jumeirah is the prime example to illustrate this phenomenon. Initially, it only embodies an unrealistic Arabian fairytale land that only Dubai could afford. However, it was able to prove itself to be a purposeful developmental model that deserves serious consideration and has much to be learnt from.


1.Elsheshtawy, Yasser. Dubai: Behind an Urban Spectacle. Oxon: Routledge, 2013.

2.Sultan Sooud Al Qassemi. “Dubai’s influence goes beyond just commerce.” Gulf News. 13th March’ 2006

Image reference:

1.Dubaization. In Dubai’s Influence Goes beyond Just Commerce. September 1, 2014.


1 Comment on “Dubai / Palm Jumeirah / 2001-2006 / City as a model (I)

  1. ‘Dubaization’ is a brand-new term for me yet an understandable vocabulary that intertwined with my 1st impression towards Dubai. The poster also reinforces the idea of ‘Dubaization’ about its economic development, social condition, and architectural style. I believe it would be effective to brand Dubai’s economic success in terms of this ‘Dubaization’ urban planning ideas. However, it is hard to visualize how ‘Dubaization’ can happen in developing countries that the Dubai-style of development seems to be a showcase for wealth and luxury but not for its future development or a solution for social problems (such as unemployment or housing shortages).

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