Saturday, 24 May 2008

The blog in the press this week

This week's issue of 'Time Out' features a front page article on the demise of Satwa. My blog is quoted several times in the article including in a highlighted boxed section which is very exciting. Judging from the lack of new information in the article, it seems the reporters hit the same walls of silence within the Lands Department that Satwa residents have been dealing with since February. Nowhere in the article is the development company, Meraas Investment Company, named. Meraas operates under the direct supervision of Dubai ruler Shiekh Mohammed bin Rashid Al-Maktoum and will be headed by Abdullah Al-Habai of the Engineer's Office. Mr Al-Habai is also a board member of Dubai Real Estate Corporation (DREC). Already contracts for parts of the new development have been awarded including for the building of the sales office. If the authorities as quoted in the article are to be believed (and that'd be a first) the final development plan has yet to be finalised. Out in the real world, the construction industry has the plans, the contracts and the names.

The Meraas company website hasn't changed in months being a single page with the ironic sentence "Our site is designed with you in mind", which is amusingly indicative of their attitute to the public - tell them nothing. Binod H. Shankar the former CFO of Dubai Waterfront Corporation is the CFO of Meraas. Vivek Rao, the Chief Executive Officer, seems to an active speaker on the Real Estate conference circuit.

I fear that to continue down the path of obliteration in the name of profit will doom Dubai to becoming just "somewhere that could be anywhere" full of million dollar ghettos. That would be a tragedy.


  1. Diversity and mixture of cultures, people of different color and various backgrounds living in harmony has always been an exceptional fact of Dubai life. What make Dubai a beautiful city are not only its clean green roads and tall buildings but also more essentially the imprint of daily scene of lively areas such as Satwa in random minds. The smell of freshly baked breads of old bakeries on their broken wooden tables, casual passing by of posh visitors through black “Burke’s of Arab women in Satwa, tinting of a three digit number plate brand new car in a tiny oily car repair shop, laughter of joyful Philippinas back from work, pleasure of an old lady in selling her twisted used bangle at a gold shop to buy a new design jewelry for her neighbor’s wedding, crying of a bare footed young boy in search of his fake addidas ball, hot sale of saris and textile hung on the sticks besides shops,… and you and me wondering among those as if we know each other for ages. …. This is called Dubai Identity. Nowhere else in the world you can experience it. Reproducing a replica of other completely different cities and forcing new identity on Dubai not only seems unfounded, but also will erase the unique identity of Dubai, which has evolved over years of history. Presence of old Satwa villas is not an obstacle in the way of the development of Dubai, rather the ability to see their uniqueness and be eager to refurbish and preserve them along with modern structures, is the barrier to overcome.

  2. Why didn't they say who the developer is?