Encoded Visions Of Place At Dubai Creek
Free (open access)
401 - 408
Dubai, one of the world’s fastest growing cities, has created at breathtaking speed one of the world’s largest waterfront developments. Much to the detriment of its ecology, multi-billion dollar projects, enormous human-made islands, are forming off its coast. The city’s tourism trade is one of the largest sectors of its economy and has garnered international attention among travelers wishing to partake of luxurious Arabian ambience. At the heart of old Dubai are the districts that straddle the original creek; they harbor the original context of the city’s ancient reputation as the most notorious port on the Arabian Sea. The contrast between the old and new Dubai is what attracts many of the tourists to its port center. Yet the new modernist narratives being set in place are at odds with the sustainability of the authentic experience that the Dubai Creek has to offer. An exploration of the place names around the creek points to a past intimacy between landscape and culture and tells a story that could inform how these tourist sites can retain their valuable resource of authenticity. Keywords: sustainable tourism, sustainable urban form, cultural landscape, historic preservation, place theory, Arabian culture. 1 Walking the ruined map of Dubai Creek \“The past is not dead, it is not even past.” – William Faulkner The city of Dubai, caught in the grip of the current processes for Placemaking, has been rendered as mere spectacle, an ersatz destination manipulated by a tightly controlled set of computerized tableaux and identified by its global branding campaign. Yet there remain traces of the authentic city not yet flattened by the otherworldly images that falsely refer to a golden age of a long lost Orient. The creek itself and its adjacent districts are the source of the narrative told by its landscape and its inhabitants. But what of this storied place survives
sustainable tourism, sustainable urban form, cultural landscape, historic preservation, place theory, Arabian culture.