The Urban Development

Dubai Development Property Real Estate (18 of 40)

A walk through Dubai’s supercity of futuristic skyscrapers made me uneasy for any city that mimics its rapid development

“There is a huge dependence on migrant workers who have employment terms that are no different than indentured servitude,” Sarah Leah Whitson, the director of the Middle East and North Africa division of Human Rights Watch, an advocacy group that documents abuses of migrant workers, told The Times. “This is a system that’s put in place to entrap workers.”

Source: New York Times

Every day, buses take workers back and forth between massive labor camps with dormitories, where they typically sleep four or five to a room. The government now inspects labor camps to ensure that they are up to code.

Source: Al Jazeera, Gulf News


While recent reports from Human Rights Watch and the United Nations acknowledged improvements, both said labor abuses continue. HRW said the reform laws still allowed employers to charge workers the recruitment fees that can put them in debt.

Source: Human Rights Watch, Al Jazeera

The entire experience of being in Dubai can be disorienting. As I walked into the Dubai Mall, the second-biggest mall in the world and one of more than 65 malls in the city, it was clear that Dubai society has three tiers: the Emiratis and superrich on top, the foreign white-collar workers below them, and, at the bottom, the migrant construction and service workers.

Most of the workers come of their own accord, out of a serious need to make money because their home countries are impoverished. That makes it all the more tragic that the existing system seems set up to exploit them.

It’s hard to argue that the Emiratis didn’t do what was best for them. Dubai has become the third-most visited city in the world and weaned itself off oil revenue almost entirely — no small feat. But as I walked from one massive luxury shopping complex to the next, I wondered whether Dubai is living on borrowed time.

Dubai and its wealthy developers seem not to think so. With the world’s tallest tower already built, Dubai’s big-name developers’ next move is to build an even bigger one. The Dubai Creek Tower is set to outscale the Burj Khalifa, and the mall below it is designed to dwarf the Dubai Mall to become the biggest in the world. It all feels like a kid playing “SimCity” with unlimited money — a game that gets old quick.

the tower at dubai creek harbour

Courtesy of Emaar

Source: Time Out Dubai

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