Construction boom (clap)

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The satellite photo of Abu Dhabi is a beautiful and colorful image of this island city.  Let it be known that unlike its liberal coastline negotiating neighbor, Dubai, Abu Dhabi is more interested in preserving existing conditions, encouraging environmental intelligence, and maintaining a public waterfront.  John Madden, the Senior Planning Manager at the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council (UPC) told me about these stark contrasts and summarized the council’s plans for the city’s future, the document and master plan they call Vision 2030.  In short, a land use plan will be the key to the city’s growth.  The vision calls for the development of two major nodes within the city – a capital city node (with appropriate capital city functions slated to become a ‘civic heart’) and a Central Business District (CBD).  It addresses edge conditions, both at the city/water’s edge and the boundaries between separate large developments.  This, after-all, is what Dubai has fallen victim to – a city of private enclaves that have claimed the majority of public space.

I am still trying to verify this, but it seems like the world’s largest construction projects (collectively) are happening right here in Abu Dhabi – especially since so many projects elsewhere have been put on hold indefinitely…..Dubai….Vegas…etc.  I was given a site tour of developer Aldar’s Yas Island (2,500 hectares) being built for this November’s Formula One race, the exhibit at the palace was the proposal for the Saadiyat Island Cultural District (2,700 ha), and the new city of Masdar (600 ha) broke ground next to the Abu Dhabi International Airport.  In addition to all of the island and other private developments, redevelopment projects are happing throughout the city as well.

So what does that mean for the economy and prospective jobs here?  An insider told me that people here have anxieties about their jobs as well.  There is the ongoing threat that suspended jobs in Dubai will cause some of the top positions there to transfer, or takeover, jobs here.

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