The rate of expansion and growth seen in Dubai over the last 10 years has been something incredible to behold. Towns and cities can grow quickly but with nothing like the combination of sheer speed and size and organisation and planning foresight that Dubai boasts. Cancun and Playa Del Carmen in Mexico and San Pedro Town in Belize are examples of fast growing urban areas I’ve seen up close and personal. But, often the cart is before the horse when it comes to city planning and expansion. Take Playa Del Carmen, for example. You’ll find dirt roads on the outskirts of town in residential areas boasting nice homes. Not much fun when it’s dry and dusty or wet and muddy. San Pedro Town, my old home, only recently got some actual paved roads. It’s “Build First and worry about infrastructure later” in many developing cities.
There might be cities in developing countries which are growing faster than Dubai in terms of population but these cities often have huge issues with growing poverty and temporary shanty housing plus of course the crime and gang behavior often associated with such problems. Those cities are not growing in a sustainable manner and in addition infrastructure problems abound with frequent power cuts, water shortages and sanitary waste problems. Not so in Dubai where the authorities keep growth rapid but well planned and orderly.
What Dubai does extremely well, unlike many fast growing towns and cities, is infrastructure. Dubai gets first class roads constructed before an area is allowed to be developed on. The water and electrical quality and reliability are as good as any upscale Western city. Actually it’s often better because utilities are so cheap here. Traffic moves more freely than in comparably sized cities in other countries. Yes, there are bottlenecks during rush hour but they’re remarkably localised and most home commutes don’t involve much delay.
Mind you, the actual driving can be interesting. You have to watch your mirrors, look over your left and right shoulders, look around and in general drive in a state of such taut alertness that getting to your destination often invokes a feeling of great relief. Traffic moves fast and sometimes loose here. But, compare that to driving in London, where the average speed of traffic flow is less than 10 mph even outside of rush hour and getting to your destination can sometimes invoke a feeling of “It would have been quicker to walk.”
I won’t go into too much detail about the different aspects of life in Dubai in this article. Better to do individual stories about things like driving, eating, the different areas of Dubai, public transport, wildlife and so much more. Keep an eye on this website! In between the odd real estate listing we’ll keep you up to date with life and living in Dubai, the Mega-City of the Middle East!