Abu Dhabi: The Pointe Planned on Dubai’s Palm Jumeirah, Great Dubai Wheel Canceled But The World’s Lebanon Island Opens

Despite warnings that Abu Dhabi’s housing market is going to dip soon, investment in Dubai seems to be slowly on the rise again.

Nakheel has announced that it’s starting construction on The Pointe, an $80 million new mixed-use development on the Palm Jumeirah islands. No timeline. (Construction Week Online)

Despite Dubai Properties Group canceling Dubailand’s Great Dubai Wheel (Hotelier Middle East), the World Island Beach Club just opened on the World’s “Lebanon island.” Though there’s literally no infrastructure, 70 percent of the islands have sold (The National and The Atlantic: Cities).

In positive sustainability news, Abu Dhabi property developer Aldar is partnering with Epic Green Solutions to reduce water use (Zawya), Bee’ah is introducing residential recycling in Sharjah (Khaleej Times) and Dubai is building a solar power plant
(The National).

Forthcoming recycling bins in Sharjah. / Photo via Khaleej Times.

Nationwide, the UAE is improving its customer service for government agencies, and last year established subsidized neighborhood food distribution centers and car transport for people with special needs (Gulf Today). Plus the UAE has the most branch campuses of any country in the world at 37, though new overseas campuses are trending to China and India (New York Times).

Elsewhere in the region…
Saudi Arabia is expanding its North-South Railway with a $600 million contract with Saudi firm Al Rashid. (Reuters) Atkins won a $100 billion contract to establish Doha, Qatar’s Central Planning Office to help plan billions in infrastructure projects (The National). BAM International is partnering with Jordanian firm MAG to build the new $65 million port in Aqaba, Jordan. (Port Technology)

The Qatari-funded “The Shard” supertall skyscraper in London is the last gasp of the heady “naughties” — big, bold and no look to the city’s past (Der Spiegel). New documentary “Zabaleen” profiles Cairo’s Coptic Christians who work informally to recycle 80 percent of the city’s waste (The Atlantic: Cities).

The Shard skyscraper looms over London. / Image via Der Spiegel.

Beyond the Middle East…
In the former USSR, Almaty, Kazakhstan has a new metro (The Atlantic: Cities) and “Russia by Rail” is NPR’s great travelogue of Trans-Siberian Railroad (NPR).

Incredible read on urban planning in Soweto, South Africa — is there any place in the world whose spatial divisions so completely reflect the racial segregation of the past 100 years? (Design Observer) Meanwhile, Cape Town is starting to figure out public space (Future Cape Town). Hopefully they can be helped by citizen cartographers, who are taking a greater stake in urban planning my mapping infrastructure (NYT).

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Abu Dhabi: Curbing landfill waste and dumping, Dubai’s 2020 Master Plan, New Cruise Ship Terminal

With the grim news that the GCC is very polluted (Construction Week) due to oil drilling and construction, it’s perhaps no surprise that the UAE is looking to drastically reduce its waste and improve sustainability.

There have been 23 cases of illegal dumping in past three months. / Image via Construction Week.

The country hopes to divert 90 percent of its waste in six years , and has cut down on illegal dumping by smartly placing GPS tags on dump trucks. (Construction Week)

Despite there being $185 billion in GCC road projects, mass transit investment does seem to be catching on, spurred by Dubai’s metro and plans to expand it for their 2020 Master Plan. (Construction Week) By 2020, Dubai’s population is expected to grow from 2 million to 3 million. (DSC [PDF])

Why so much focus on transit? Perhaps because Abu Dhabi’s Urban Planning Council apparently has a large staff from transit-friendly cities of Seattle and Vancouver. (Vancouver Sun) Cairo could learn from this, as the city’s streets are at quadruple capacity. (World Architecture News)

Abu Dhabi's new cruise ship terminal. / Image via Abu Dhabi Week.

Elsewhere in the region…
Abu Dhabi is getting a new cruise ship terminal. (ADW)

Doha, Qatar’s $1.4 billion Festival City — for the 2022 World Cup — is starting construction. (Construction Week). The city is also getting a new port, slated for 2016.

Oman quietly is improving its infrastructure — ports, roads, rail and hospitals…with more resorts likely coming. (Construction Week)