“If there was no Burj Dubai, no Palm, no World, would anyone be speaking of Dubai today?”
In this concept the Financial Times has explained the meaning of Dubai. This city exists thanks to its CEO Sheikh Mohammed Al-Maktoum, who said that he would become the number one in the world and, for this purpose, he is trying to create a proper Disneyland for rich people.
In fact, seen from Google Earth, Dubai looks like a theme park: the World and the Palm are ridiculously suggestive. This sensation is well shown in “Evil Paradise” where Mike Davis describes what he saw during his landing in Dubai: “As the plane slowly banks toward the desert mainland, you gasp at the even more improbable vision ahead. Out of a chrome forest of skyscrapers soars a new Tower of Babel”. He is talking about the Burj Dubai, the 2600 feet height tower: the icon of Dubai, the icon of a new world.
In fact, Dubai is a decadent “toy” built to show the power and the richness as demonstration of the social status. All social classes are well distinct in Dubai and there is not better city to show it and, at the same time, the difference between the higher and the lower class is extremely big, in the city where the rights are proportional with money. More money you own and more rights you will have.
Dubai has taken the throne of the U.S.A. as icon of the capitalism.
However, can we call Dubai a city? Can anyone feel at home here? The Sheikh Mohammed Al-Maktoum has created a theme park, but can he create a “real city”?
If we take as example the most artificial city, Las Vegas, we could find even there people that feel at home. Dave Hickey in his book “Air Guitar” shows how it is possible to have that sensation even in Las Vegas. Moreover, Las Vegas has been define by D. Hickey as a democratic city where everyone is at the same level: “If Bruce Willis and Shanney Doherty just want to get their feet wet, they shoot dice with the rest of us”. Nevertheless, D.Hickey said that in that city “money is just money” and everybody can ascend from “Food to Cocktail”.
Maybe it will be the same in Dubai in the future.
Money has created Las Vegas and it could generate a new proper city: Dubai.
As we have seen, I could feel at home in Disneyland too.