The Fall of Dubai?

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.