Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Secrets of the Arabian Canal

In the land of twisted, stretched and rotating towers, matchbox communities, outrageous masterplans and artificial islands of all shapes and sizes, a project of epic proportions is taking shape without the usual fanfare. The largest man-made canal might not sound exciting to you, but when completed The Arabian Canal will shape the new Dubai.

Apart from some vague mentions in some websites and some company press releases, Nakheel has centred the spotlight on the Dubai Waterfront which itself will be the biggest waterfont development in the world extending the Dubai coastline by 820 km, 12 times the current length and housing 750,000 people (if they can find them). But Dubai Waterfront,which will be completed in 2010, is only the tip of the iceberg compared to the Arabian Canal.

So what is this enigmatic Arabian Canal that no one talks about?

When you look at the major masterplan developments in Dubai on this map, you can see that the Arabian Canal(marked in light blue) is massive in terms of scale - 80 km to be precise. But what makes it interesting is not this image but glimpses of another plan as inadvertently shown in the Dubai Waterfront Video. It has been said that the shape of Dubai as it will be in 2025 is already planned and well in place - but just look at the extent where the Canal extends to the whole mainland.

It will be hardly surprising if this plan does go through because there has been a mad scramble to increase the Dubai beachfront from a mere 45 km to an unbelievable 1500 km through the construction of artificial islands. Now options are getting limited because of lack of space and going inland with the canal extension might be the only way out to create more waterfront. Which is lucrative to the real-estate industry by the way if it will be able to sustain this momentum, considering that waterfront properties are priced a lot higher than inland properties and has several other advantages as well.

It is also important to keep the water running, in which case inland lakes are definitely out of the picture and the canal seems to be a viable solution. The other possibilities the canal offers are limitless - waterfront communities and other developments especially with the grid like extension as shown in the video. The Arabian Canal might not attain the legendary stature of the Suez Canal and the Panama Canal but is definitely destined to change the shape of Dubai when it is completed in 2013.


Blogger nzm said...

That's great if you want to live in the flight path and environs of what will be one of the world's biggest and busiest airports.

Jebel Ali Airport is going to be the size of Heathrow and O'Hare combined!

I can just see it now - the new development is going to be called Plane Spotter's Paradise!

8:23 pm  
Blogger Woke said...

Imagine the plight of the residents within the Dubai World Central, the new name of the Airport City.

I would guess the flightpaths to be more from the sea side, so the Arabian Canal residents would not be as close as we might think.

8:35 am  
Blogger UAE Creatives said...

Good observation!

10:28 am  
Blogger Lirun said...

curious.. that must have a pretty drastic impact on the flow of water currents.. these impact fishing stocks and weather patterns when the water temperatures start to change because of flow differences..

how sensitive are dubai planners to environmental issues..

i know that in israel we kind of stuffed up the coast with the 4 or 5 marinas we built and the tide breakers but they are relatively mild on the current flow and more harmful to the dunes.. which saddens me enough as it is..

(thoughts of a curious beach and blog surfing israeli..)


ps is there much of a surf culture in dubai?

5:43 pm  
Blogger Lirun said...

pps this blog is excellent

5:48 pm  
Blogger Woke said...

Thanks Lirun.
Interesting you brought up the issues relating to water currents. I would guess since the project is being done on a long term, the impact would be lesser than normal - say in the case of the Suez Canal. But Im not sure of the scientific aspects of this observation.

Nakheel, the company behind the project has not issued any statement on this regard.

As far as Dubai is concerned, because of the lack of transparency associated with all its projects independent environmental agencies have not been able to make a proper evaluation of such projects and their imapct on the environment. Even other govt-funded projects (The World, The Palm etc) faced a lot of criticism in terms of impact on marine life.
You can find some info here.

http://www.surfersofdubai.com/ has more info on your question relating to surfing in Dubai. Interestingly, they call themselves Sods.

8:39 am  
Blogger Keefieboy said...

I'm guessing that the material dug out from the ground to make the canal will be re-located as landfill for the Waterfront islands. I spotted that extended canal on the video interview with one of the planners too...

Environmental impact - Nakheel says they've done studies, the evidence says otherwise.

12:11 am  
Blogger Woke said...

Yes, infact it is already being used for Dubai Watefront.

10:13 am  
Blogger Lirun said...

took me a while to visit your response heheh

but thank you.. interesting..

i always find it curious ow land reclamation works in the long term..

i know that shanghai and manhattan are both a bit dubious (not pun intended) and that they are said to be sinking as is venice.. there are similar concerns about south western queensland in australia - where the entire gold coast is basically a network of canals in what was once swamp land..

it always frustrates me when man creates such engineering wonders and misses out on the opportunity to harmonise with our delicate environment..

thank you soo much for the link.. ill go check it out!!!

you rock!


10:56 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It was Limitless LLC who's doing the project and not Nakheel.

6:34 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What an ecological nightmare, utter waste of resources.

4:11 pm  

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