South African IT professionals have been flocking to Dubai for some years now – to the extent that the international school there offers Afrikaans as one of its options. Now there will be a new Dubai for ex-pats to flock to.
HH Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Ruler of Dubai as well as Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE, has unveiled ambitious plans for an entire city to be built in the desert.
Respectful of the region's cultural heritage in both scale and form, this new metropolis has been specifically designed to meet the needs of the modern Arab world.
Extending over 800-million square feet, the project incorporates new homes, outstanding educational, financial and commercial facilities, iconic civic buildings and tourist landmarks. Threading them together is more landscaped parkland than can be found in London and New York combined.
Set to become one of the world's most spectacular urban developments, the Mohammed Bin Rashid Gardens will cost over $60-billion to construct. Dubai Properties will shortly begin work on the scheme, designed by the internationally renowned architect, Eric Kuhne of London-based CivicArts.
"His Highness Sheikh Mohammed should be applauded for his commitment to creating a new Dubai which will redefine the quality of civic life for all the citizens and guests of the Arabian Gulf. His vision can be compared to that of Shah Abbas I who created Nisf-e-Jahan; the elegant 16th century capital of Persia whose parks, gardens and libraries reflected the heavens," says Eric Kuhne.
Arranged around the city are four centres, or "houses" that will host world-class facilities in their respective fields:
* The House of Humanity includes quarters for charitable organisations, including Sheik Mohammed's own Humanitarian Establishment, along with museums encompassing the themes of human civilization.
* The towers and office blocks of The House of Commerce will be occupied by large multi-national companies, insurance firms and both Islamic and international banks; all working in partnership with educational institutions specializing in financial sciences.
* The House of Wisdom includes translation facilities, a grand library, knowledge garden, international universities, colleges of history and science and a mosque, together with offices for a number of international academic organisations.
* The House of Nature is dedicated to the environment with family parks, zoological gardens, hotels, alternative medical and herbal clinics and premises for laboratories, institutions and colleges all specialising in conservation and the natural sciences.