Skyline Stories: AbuDhabi ‘s massive projects, Yas Island water park, U.S. suburbanization & poverty and Times Sq. redesign.

Abu Dhabi's waterpark, opening 2013. Photo via The National.

Abu Dhabi is not immune from the financial crisis — construction and infrastructure contracts are down 81 percent — but there are still massive projects underway. There are airport/port/industrial zones expansion, redeveloping suburbs Shahama and Bahia and Saadiyat Island. (Gulf Construction) Plus major investment in green space. (The National)

Abu Dhabi’s “green” market could be worth nearly USD 3 trillion in 10 years. (Zawya) Apparently the proposed Yas Island water park is going to be sustainable, as the UPC awarded it a “one pearl” rating for “for its efforts to reduce water consumption on the site.” (The National)

Hopefully Abu Dhabi’s rapidly developing suburbs are going to model American ones built before the 1930s, when the FHA required cul-de-sacs in suburban planning. Connectivity with a street grid also helps against foreclosure. (The Atlantic: Cities) Now poverty is spreading to inner-ring suburbs. (Pedestrian Observations) And the U.S. South, often dominated by cul-de-sac suburbs, is hit hardest by the recession. (NYT)

But besides Detroit, maybe urban downtowns aren’t booming? Suburban office space and taxes are still cheaper. (The Atlantic: Cities)

Lightsaber Battle. Photo via Gothamist.

Why is the developing world’s middle class stuck in the car-centric mindset of 1950s America? (NYT) At least the industrialized world has hit “peak travel.” (Miller-McCune)

First MTA CEO Jay Walder announced he’s leaving, now Port Authority’s Executive Director Christopher Ward, too. (NYT) The new MTA head may be able to coordinate light rail on Staten Island’s North Shore. (Second Ave Sagas)

Times Square’s pedestrian plazas (do they have a name yet?) are going to be rebuilt from the ground up (first time in 50 years!) for pedestrians and cyclists. (Streetsblog) In another iconic public space, Washington Square Park, Newmindspace held its awesome annual lightsaber battle. (Gothamist)

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