Dubai Detox: An Alternative Urbanism of Climate, Culture and Place
James, Peter Michael
Bell, Matthew J
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Dubai, the largest city in the United Arab Emirates, recently experienced a spectacular building boom. The new city--a string of setpieces including palm-shaped islands, manmade marinas and soaring skyscrapers--bears no resemblance to traditional Middle Eastern urban settlements. The end of the boom has left many building plans unrealized. These holes in the urban fabric present strategic opportunities to challenge Dubai's prevailing car-dependent, energy-intensive development model. This thesis proposes design possibilities for an undeveloped 100-hectare area adjacent to a Dubai Metro rail transit station. Using climate and culture as determinants in the design process, time-tested urban, landscape and architectural responses are applied and transformed to the creation of a new settlement pattern. The resulting urban design "kit of parts" provides a flexible framework for transit- and pedestrian-oriented development that accommodates varied densities and building types, simultaneously privileging public space and respecting cultural values of privacy and separation.