City of contrasts

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I spent the morning with Dr. Yasser Elsheshtawy, Associate Professor of Architecture at UAE University, currently putting the finishing touches on a book documenting Dubai’s transformations.  Professor, writer, photographer, architect, urbanist, owner of broken-in chuck taylors, this guy is basically the guru on public space in Dubai.
The day highlighted the many contrasts of the city.  I saw  residential towers at Jumeirah Beach, the the suburban tract homes at (Springs) Emirite’s Villas (enjoyed a BBQ there with some friends) and the poorest niches in Al Quoz (the worker housing compounds) and the neighborhood of Satwa.  Satwa is interesting because it was slated to become the next mega-project out here (Jumeirah Gardens, largest in the world), complete with the world’s next tallest building.  The city began demolition of homes there, cleared plots for new towers, and now they remain empty.  I saw this neighborhood on the ground and then from the 30th story of a tower on Sheikh Zayed Road.  It is on prime location for real estate…and prime location for living for the people who are there.

Other contrasts include the sheer height differential between the 230m+ towers on Sheikh Zayed road and the surrounding 1-6 story city fabric.  The massive towers appear to have burst out of the ground.

Yasser’s work on public space in Dubai

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