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Dubai Transformation – Old Vs New Dubai

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Dubai Transformation - Old Vs New Dubai

This is Dubai, and this is our beloved UAE; it will remain the focus of the world’s attention; it will continue, under its wise leadership and innovative citizens, to be a hub for business and finance, a center for cultural and humanitarian works.” – His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

An image of Dubai in the past can be shown as a shining pearl in the hot desert. Bright and sparkling under the scorching Arabian sun, it stands unfazed, braving the heat and the winds, silently dreaming a vision of greatness.

Geography and Climate In Dubai

The second largest emirate in UAE, Dubai, is situated on the coast of the Persian Gulf, nestled under the Musandam Peninsula, and shares borders with Abu Dhabi, Sharjah, and The sultanate of Oman. Despite the country being a desert, it is also rich in fertile plains, reservoirs of fresh water, high mountains, and deep valleys.

Geography and Climate In Dubai

The sandy deserts in Dubai itself range from white to tinted red in different regions depending on their composition. The dunes further give way to the Western Hajar mountains that form the border between Dubai and Oman.

Though it has no natural river bodies, Dubai is divided into Deira and Bur Dubai by Dubai Creek, an inlet of the Persian Gulf. It is a major trade and transportation passage. The natural environment of Dubai is home to many exotic and endemic flora and fauna.  

Dubai has four climates, of which the summers and winters are the most prominent. Dubai and UAE’s environment is generally tropical as the Tropic of Cancer passes through the country.

Being a coastal area, the daytime climate is typically hot and humid, with the nights relatively cooler. From April to October, Summers in Dubai may touch a temperature of 42 degrees Celsius and are characterized by infrequent dust storms. 

 Winter, beginning in October, is a pleasant climate with foggy mornings and rainfall accompanied by thunder, which usually lasts for a short duration. 

Early inhabitants and settlements

Though the country is young compared to its counterparts, evidence of human settlement in the UAE dates back 125,000 years. The history of Dubai goes back to the Minoan period.

The first accounts of human settlement date to 3000 BCE, when the settlers consisted of cattle herders and agriculturalists. The emirate was not always the desert and dunes it is now known for but was filled with mangrove swamps which later dried up.

The area was initially occupied by Sassanid Empire in the 3rd century and later controlled by the Umayyad Caliphate. During the 5th century BC, Dubai was also part of the trade route linking Oman and Iraq. Knowledge of the earliest inhabitants in the emirate and history was mainly passed on through word of mouth.

However, the forts and old architecture are still preserved as part of Dubai’s history, allowing us a peek into its past. There have been written records of Dubai, its culture, and its people in accounts of famous travelers and traders.

The earliest known civilization in the area comprised the Bedouin tribes, nomads settled in the desert. Their descendants in the UAE consist of the two branches of formidable tribes, the Bani Yas tribe and the Qawasim tribe. Most nationals are descendants of these tribes.

Importance of Pearl Diving and Trade In Dubai

The documented records from the late 16th century show a history of settlements around the creek and the coast, allowing for the start of an active fishing and pearl-harvesting community.

Importance of Pearl Diving and Trade In Dubai

They were also known to have engaged in agriculture, livestock management, and cattle and goat herding. The region was also subject to numerous disputes as it was an essential travel and trade route. 

The strategic location of the peninsula in the Arabian Sea, the ease of access created by the passage of significant trading routes, and access to all Gulf countries, including Eastern and Southern Africa, make UAE one of the most important fishing and pearl harboring centers.

Further, this unique geographic positioning protected the country from natural disasters, allowing for continuous and safe trade activities.

The country was rich in marine and land resources, enhanced by its people’s resourcefulness and hardworking nature. With the invention of artificial pearls, the pearl trade in Dubai took a hit. The emirate quickly recovered from this by reestablishing itself as a center for export and import. 

👉Dubai In The 20th Century

The image of Dubai vastly began to change in the late 16th century. The opening of new trade routes and relations and the permanent settling of inhabitants led to a new civilization.

British influence and protectorate status

In the late 1700s, the Bani Yas tribe of Liwa Oasis in Abu Dhabi settled around the creek to form a small fishing community. Having drawn political power from Abu Dhabi, Dubai became a dependency of Abu Dhabi. During the 1800s, Dubai was a walled city.

Eventually, it became a significant trade hub by opening maritime trade routes. In the 1830s, the leader of the Al Maktoum dynasty settled at a small fishing community in Dubai and declared the emirate independent from Abu Dhabi.

By 1833, Dubai became an independent Sheikhdom. The growing pearl industry and promises of tax exemption attracted foreign traders and expatriate workers to the coast.

As the trade routes in Dubai gained momentum, this attracted the British, and maritime treaties were entered between the Dubai sheiks and the British, making it a trucial coast.

This alliance allowed the seven sheikhdoms to thwart further wars and disputes from other countries.

Discovery of oil and its impact on the economy

As mentioned before, the invention of the artificial pearl and the great depression caused the market of pearls to decline, thus affecting the life and livelihood in Dubai.

Discovery of oil and its impact on the economy

This also resulted in feuds between the emirates. Nevertheless, the discovery of oil in 1966 helped the economy to reestablish itself and redefine Dubai. The ruler of Dubai, the Late His Highness Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, saw the discovery of oil as a chance to move toward a new future. With the export of crude oil and petroleum products, Dubai became a significant and influential economy.

Dirham became the official currency, and essential developmental and infrastructural activities began. The discovery of oil also created more opportunities. Immigrants from South Asia, particularly India, and Pakistan, availed this opportunity, and the demographics of Dubai quickly began to change. 

Establishment of Dubai as a trading hub

Dubai started to invest its oil revenue into meaningful infrastructural developments and focused on creating a country that would stand on par with the developed nations.

Establishment of Dubai as a trading hub

While oil and trade remained the significant contributors to Dubai’s economy, the opening of the Rashid Port, Jebel Ali free zone, Dubai drydocks, the Emirates Airlines, and widening of the Dubai Creek, among others, began to increase the income of the emirate significantly and established Dubai as the center of business and finance. 

👉Dubai In The 21st Century

The progress of modern UAE and Dubai can be primarily attributed to the vision, perseverance, and dedication of the Late His Highness Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan and the Late Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum.

He dreamed of a unified federation of emirates that would stand tall and proud in the years to come with visions towards the future built in the present with strong roots in the past. The image of unity and the need for cooperation prompted the leaders to unite and form a federation.

However, the idea of a federation was a novel concept at the time, especially in the Middle East; the common ties, shared heritage, and history between the seven emirates allowed for the same.

To bring his goal to fruition, Sheikh Zayed began contributing income from the resources in his emirate towards the Trucial States Development Fund. 

In 1968, the British withdrew from the Gulf regions and terminated the treaties protecting trucial states. The leaders of Abu Dhabi and Dubai, the Late His Highness Sheikh Zayed Bin Sultan Al Nahyan and the Late His Highness Sheikh Rashid Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, saw this as an opportunity to unite the emirates.

The six emirates excluding Ras Al Khaimah agreed to form UAE in a meeting held in Dubai on July 18, 1971. The country formally proclaimed its independence on December 2, 1971, after which Ras Al Khaimah joined the federation in 1972.

The role played by Abu Dhabi and Dubai in UAE’s path to progress is ingrained throughout history. From the beginning, Dubai has always been the hub of business and finance and a melting pot of culture and progress.

Development of modern infrastructure and architecture

While Dubai holds its past close to its heart, it has always taken giant leaps into the future. Setting up infrastructural facilities to enhance trade and the economy led to an increase in revenue.

Dubai was on its way to becoming a mega-cosmopolitan city, thanks to the flood of expats from all over the world.

Development of modern infrastructure and architecture

His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the ruler of Dubai who succeeded his father, demonstrated that the sky is not the limit, and he was committed to building a community based on progress, growth, culture, tolerance, and humanity.

The infrastructure and architecture of Dubai changed during the 20th century to be at par with the global standards of living and aim for the highest quality of life. 

Role of Tourism in the Economy

While on the fast track to development, Dubai began to realize the resources it possessed. Dubai understood that oil, a non-renewable resource will not be enough to sustain the country permanently

If the Emirate truly wanted to develop and progress with a long-term impact, it would need to tap into its new resources. Dubai was already making waves in the global community and had started attracting visitors worldwide.

It soon realized that diversifying into a luxury, lifestyle, and tourism destination was the best option. The opening of the Dubai international airport and its airlines was the first step towards the same.

With His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum pioneering the Emirate towards a new future, “Discover Dubai” became a slogan of change and new beginnings. 

Dubai soon began to invest in creating one-of-a-kind architecture, landmarks, and events. With the start of the Dubai shopping festival, the Dubai world cup, and Burj Al Arab, Dubai’s position as a tourist destination skyrocketed.

This ensures that Dubai will remain an enigma and prompts crowds of tourists and travelers to explore and invest in the Emirate. Dubai takes excellent care to stand out in all its endeavors. It constantly tries to promote tourism and increase its economic revenue. 

With the increase in tourism, Dubai witnessed a change in the landscape. The real-estate sector began to boom, and there was a marked increase in tourism-centered businesses such as hotels, restaurants, and cafes.

This was in addition to the unique commercial and residential properties that dotted the Dubai skyline. Dubai started focusing on revenue generation by preserving its history and forging a new future. The multiple attractions in and around the country aim to show the Emirate’s journey toward being a world leader. 

Dubai’s focus on sustainability and green initiatives

With the creation of skyscrapers and artificial islands to attract tourism and a quality lifestyle, Dubai soon began shifting its focus to recognizing its sustainable development goals. The country has been facing multiple threats, including the impact of rapid development, climate change, and global warming.

Dubai's focus on sustainability and green initiatives

The increase in urban population also leads to a rise in the consumption of energy and water resources. Apart from this, invasive species, overfishing, air pollution, land degradation, etc., also play a vital role in contributing to the environmental hardships faced by UAE.

In 2010, UAE was reported to be one of the world’s foremost contributors to its ecological footprint.

“We are committed to sustainability, which is a top priority that we strive to implement, taking into consideration environment conservation and balance between economic and social development, to provide people the best quality of life and ensure the happiness of the community.”

– His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

Below are a few of Dubai’s sustainability and green initiatives

  • UAE Aquaculture Guide

Despite its infrastructural and commercial developments, UAE still depends on its marine habitat. The Aquaculture guidelines were formulated to enhance food security and ensure the aquatic habitat is not threatened.

  • National Strategy to Combat Desertification

Desertification results from drought, deforestation, climate change, or others, resulting in fertile lands turning into deserts. This strategy and the National Biodiversity Strategy ensure that economic development does not lead to ecological imbalance. 

  • Sustainable City, Dubai

Established in 2015, the Sustainable City in Dubai is spread over 46 hectares of land. It is a zero-emission, clean city running on renewable energy. It is created to reduce the ecological footprint and cater to community well-being. Members from 65 nationalities represent the residential community in the city. 

  • Year of Sustainability

UAE has recognized 2023 as the year of sustainability and aims to identify its sustainable development goals at a grassroots level. By 2030, Dubai aims to be sustainable in renewable energy, energy savings, and water savings by at least 30%. By 2050, it aims to have at least 75% clean energy.

  • Vision 2021

The UAE Vision 2021 aimed at making the country more sustainable by including a sustainable environment and infrastructure as one of its primary goals. 

  • Green economy for sustainable development

HH Sheikh Mohammed launched a long-term national plan to create a green economy. 

  • Dubai Plan 2021

The plan launched in 2014 focused on six themes that addressed the developmental aims for people, society, experience, place, economy, and government.

  • Dubai Integrated Energy Strategy, 2030 and Clean Energy Strategy, 2050

The program intends to diversify the energy sector and promote clean energy. 

Dubai’s Future Plans

The future of Dubai as a frontrunner in innovation and development is very bright. 

Dubai's Future Plans

Dubai’s Vision for the Future

Below mentioned are some of the goals Dubai has drafted for its future

  • UAE Centennial 2071 – Be a world leader by 2071. Invest and builtin education, economy, government development, and community cohesion.
  • A hub for business and growth – fostering invention and innovation with sustainable development
  • Dubai Industrial Strategy, 2030 – make Dubai into an innovation-based, sustainable knowledge center
  • Dubai Clean Energy Strategy
  • Dubai Future District
  • Dubai 2040 Urban Master Plan – aims to transform Dubai into the best city for living.
  • Space exploration – lunar mission, inter-planetary mission

Ongoing projects and developments

All the above projects are ongoing, and Dubai has achieved many goals under the same within a significant duration.

Challenges and opportunities

The impending financial crisis is one of the main challenges the country faces. More robust financial stability would allow more investment and economic opportunities to emerge into the emirate.

Frequently Asked Questions 

1. Is it mandatory to know Arabic in Dubai?

No, it is not mandatory to know Arabic in Dubai. However, Arabic is mandatorily taught in schools, and some companies prefer if you know Arabic, especially in the government sector.

2. Can persons of any nationality work in Dubai?

Yes. The demography of Dubai is a mix of Emiratis and expatriates. There is no restriction to working in Dubai, provided you meet the job requirements and qualifications. 

3. Is Dubai an eco-friendly country?

Dubai is undertaking many initiatives to go green. It is making remarkable progress in sustainability measures. Some examples are given above.

4. Does Dubai have agriculture?

Despite the environmental constraints posed, Dubai does boast advanced farming technologies. It supports and fosters agriculture as part of its developmental and sustainable development goals. 

5. Is Dubai expensive?

With new developments and infrastructure, Dubai may seem expensive for some. However, most people working in Dubai prefer to live there or commute to their workplace easily. 

Content writer with good vocabulary and experience in writing news articles, and product reviews for healthcare supplements. Decent and qualitative articles are published in various well-known portals.

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