WIT Press


ROLE OF MUNICIPALITIES IN THE URBAN PLANNING OF POST-OIL GULF CITIES: THE CASE OF DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES

Price

Free (open access)

Volume

249

Pages

7

Page Range

3 - 9

Published

2020

Paper DOI

10.2495/SC200011

Copyright

Author(s)

EMAN ASSI

Abstract

Dubai is a highly memorable place: The image in your mind matches up with a colorful history of a pearl diving, fishing, gold trading settlement. Since the beginning of the 20th century, trade was the driving force behind its wealth and success. With little or no resources, Dubai became the main centerport in the Persian Gulf, the busiest regional trading center. The first Dubai Plan was assigned to John Harris in 1960, by his highness Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum. This paper aims to assess how John Harris’ developmental plans addressed the vision of his Highness to transfer Dubai into a modern, global city. In doing so, the author attempted to understand the process of transformation and its impact on the cultural and social changes of the city. More specifically, the author answers the following questions: What was the main focus of these plans? How were these plans implemented on the ground? What were the main challenges that faced John Harris and Dubai Municipality to achieve the goals set? The author researched documents and archives of Dubai Municipality, meeting minutes of the Municipality Council and Dubai Monthly Journal, which were very helpful in looking in depth at this period. The author concludes that urban development, when in a state involved with certain power, could be more influential at nation-building, in shaping the urban city landscape. Dubai’s urbanization did not face conflicts between old and new, like other Arabic cities. For John Harris, the focus was on both the functional and aesthetic aspect, to integrate the conservation of historic buildings as part of a living process, in which good new buildings were encouraged.

Keywords

city planning, cultural heritage, Dubai, historic architecture, John Harris, Persian Gulf, United Arab Emirates, urban development, urban planning