Recently, Dwell Magazine and Inhabitat.com hosted the first ‘Reburbia’ competetion ever. The competition is aimed at generating new and innovative ideas for how we envision our suburbs. The finalists have now been announced and are currently being voted on. I will say that some of the ideas are pretty radical, but all offer some value for what may work in our not too distant future. One finalist suggests using air traffic as another mode of public transport. Of course, this may seem inefficient and difficult to envision right now, but does seem like a viable option in the future. Currently, the ‘Urban Sprawl Repair Kit’ leads in voting.
Fast Company posted an excellent article on the state of Dubai during the recession (entitled Bye-Bye Dubai). During the economic prosperity that took place during most of this past decade, Dubai was the prime example of unnecessary excess. However, with the prolonged recession, Dubai has taken a turn for the worse. Some of the statistics the article provide a shocking reality:
- 50% of the developments have been stalled or are cancelled
- The stock market has dropped 70% from the peak
- Housing prices are down 41%
Some of the stalled and cancelled developments include Dubailand (a huge collection of theme parks, hotels and shops), a Tiger Woods golf course and even a underwater hotel. And according to the article, what is left of the city is empty streets and houses.
With a city that depended on a high amount of immigrants and foreign labourers, it’s not surprising that many of these people that flocked to the city during the good times have left for greener pastures. Unfortunately, the many South Asians and Indians that were overworked and abused building the hundreds of developments over the last several years now are the ones that have found themselves unable to leave.
For the majority of this past decade, Dubai has been reshaping it’s urban fabric more quickly than many thought possible. Unfortunately, it’s excessive developments and rush to become one of the world’s great cities may have finally caught up with it. While the Burj Dubai (now the tallest building in the world at well over 2000 feet) will be a reminder of the good times, the many empty houses and shops will be reminder of the current ones.
Well, it’s been a crazy last couple of weeks (hence the lack of blog posts). Unfortunately, things are still pretty hectic right now. However, I would refer you over to today’s blog post from A Daily Dose of Imagery. Last night, my hometown of Toronto had a pretty wild lightning storm and Sam Javanrouh, the man responsible for this excellent blog captured some incredible photos of it all. I will say that I was pretty glued to my window last night watching it all unfold.
On another note, I am pleased to announce that the Toronto garbage strike (which I blogged about earlier last month) is finally over and done with. You find the new from late last month in the Globe and Mail here.