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A City Within a City: Another Dubai First


By Annahita Esmaeili

Dubai is known for its extravagance. They have some of the world’s tallest skyscrapers; the Burj Khalifa – the world’s tallest man-made structure; Palm Islands – man-made islands; and the Burj Al Arab – a hotel with 1,790 square metres of 24-carat gold leaf decorating the interior. Dubai’s next big idea? “The Mall of the World.”

What would you think of a completely enclosed, “first temperature-controlled city on the planet”? You wouldn’t have to step outside for days. Would it freak you out or would you be dying to visit? Do you think it could ever be real? The Mall of the World is one more materialistic creation that the world does not need but will probably get anyway and, of course, Dubai has the vision.

It may seem extravagant, especially with the world’s overall economic situation and the number of wars currently underway, but if constructed, The Mall of the World could be the start of something very interesting. And it could further boost Dubai’s economy.

This near-fantastical structure is to include an over-the-top mall, the world’s largest indoor family theme park, a seven-kilometre “network of temperature-controlled openable promenades, … a three million square-foot wellness district and theatres modelled after famous cultural landmarks like the West End and Broadway,”  according to Cassandra Khaw from The Verge. The Mall of the World hopes to host 180 million visitors annually, which explains the 100 hotels that will be constructed on the “48-million-square-foot premises.”

Although this is an exciting project, there has been no set completion date or budget. A building that stretches seven kilometres long in walkways may seem like a great idea at the moment, but is this structure a blueprint of what our future cities will look like? If this building is created, maybe other cities will follow suit. Then you might wonder if we continue in this direction, will we bother walking outside ever again? Or will we be content in temperature-controlled cities where we’re all basically walking inside one huge mall?

In a city where the average temperature is 40 degrees Celsius, this creation actually makes some sense. The developer, Dubai Holding, explains that the mall will allow visitors to stay for weeks on end without the use of cars or any exposure to the harsh weather outside. Some places in the world – hot or cold – could benefit from similar malls, but for most, this building would be quite unnecessary.

This city within a city will undoubtedly be extremely expensive. And who wants to stay inside, forever breathing filtered air, seeing with artificial lighting and participating in a fabricated and potentially unsustainable experience?

Dubai needs to shine brighter than all the other stars in the sky. As always, it seems as though Dubai’s goal is to be the most extravagant city in the world.

Looking towards the future, you’ve got to wonder: will this fantasy mall become a reality – not just in Dubai but also in other capitalism-oriented cities of the world?

Annahita Esmaeili (also goes by Anna) has always had a passion for writing. As of June 2014, Anna graduated York University with a Bachelor of Arts Honours degree in Professional Writing, specializing in Journalism (Periodical Stream). While there, she gained experience in article writing, creative writing, substantive editing, rhetoric, prose, interviewing social media, communication skills, as well as grammar and proofreading. She started off writing for her own blog, which led to her own website, which dealt with writing book reviews. She recruited staff members, edited and wrote articles and managed the online site. In 2012 she worked as a staff writer for Cornergig, an Indie Music and Culture website, where she literally put herself into the pieces making the articles stand out. During the same year, Anna became a staff writer for The Vandoo at York University. Here, she wrote articles for the Health, Fashion and Arts and Entertainment sections of the newspaper.
Writing has always been something Anna found herself doing. Whether it was for pleasure or education, Anna would either be typing it up or doing it the old fashion way (paper and pen). She hopes that her work as a junior staff writer at Quantumrun will inspire and interest individuals allowing them to question, write and express their thoughts on subjects that are new to them. 

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