The following piece was written nearly a year ago around the time when Dr. Brown was taking his famed trip to Dubai which has recently resulted in the Southlands proposal. It was never published but I’ve decided to throw it up here.
Dr. Brown recently took a trip to Dubai to attend a conference on tourism. I do wonder if perhaps he took note of some other developments going on there. Having a background in Engineering, I’ve had an ongoing fascination with development projects around the world. Recently, I’ve taken keen interest in the progress of Dubai as they’ve taken on some colossal projects that are so big they’re almost impossible to believe.
It is incredible to consider that tremendous wealth is being invested into a region in the Middle East that has effectively run out of oil. The development of these projects stemming from their government’s decision to diversify away from an oil-reliant economy into one that is service and tourism based.
One truly amazing example is that of the Burj Dubai, which is a tower under construction and is set to break all records in terms of the world’s tallest structure. It will stand at an impressive 750 meters high and be host to 200 habitable floors. By comparison the world’s tallest free standing structure, the CN Tower of Toronto, stands at a mere 553 meters.
Some of Dubai’s other developments include the world’s tallest hotel, the Burj al-Arab, built on an artificial island; the world’s largest man-made marina, the Dubai Marina; the world’s largest artificial island, the Palm Islands; an archipelago of artificial islands shaped like the continents of the Earth, entitled The World; the Dubai Waterfront; the worlds largest airport, Jebel Ali International Airport; the world’s largest amusement park, Dubai Land, which is suggested to be more then twice the size of Disney Land; and the world’s largest mall, the Dubai Mall.
So many amazing projects all in the scope of one region that has run out of natural resources and is reshaping the face of it’s development to target a new future. I can’t help but feel inspired to consider that perhaps we have the potential to undertake our own incredible projects.
Land reclamation, like that which is being used to construct Palm Islands and The World, is certainly not a new concept for Bermuda having been the source of how our airport was constructed. Such a concept could certainly be used to overcome many of our difficulties, especially in terms of great new projects to diversify our economy, encourage regrowth of tourism, and reach closer towards sustainability.
The proposed redesign of Hamilton harbour is a perfect example of how we could begin reclaiming land from the sea. In the past, such as outlined in the ’63 Dyer Report, other land reclamation ideas have been proposed which outlined land that could be reclaimed at the causeway, great sound and spanish point. Land reclamation was also what brought us the flat space requirement that gave us our own airport. All of these wonderful examples only spur my thoughts on to what opportunities there may be to solve our problems of today.
Thanks to modern satellite photography resources provided by the internet and companies like Google, I don’t need arial photography and expertise like those used in latter years to make a rough assessment of what potential there may be. By simply glancing at the satellite photos of Bermuda and using relatively simplistic deductive reasoning, I can gain a tremendous overview of what Bermuda’s general surroundings look like.
From these deductions, I could only begin to wonder if perhaps we could consider our own artifical island project as a means to spur growth of not only new industry, but new development. By viewing these maps alone, it would appear that ideal sites for such a project could be to the west of the island as well as to the north of Somerset.
Could such a location be the site of our own great project, focused towards revitalzing tourism by creating unique resorts and new housing? Could we reach so far ahead into our future to make ourselves competitive with other destinations like Las Vegas? Could we build the ultimate conference center and rival the world as host to year round trade shows, events, conferences and the like?
I suppose all it really takes is a little imagination and a few big ideas. Dubai certainly hasn’t held back on ensuring a sustainable future. Perhaps it’s time we ensured our own.