Dubai is the most populous city in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It is located on the southeast coast of the Persian Gulf and is the capital of the Emirate of Dubai, one of the seven emirates that make up the country. Abu Dhabi and Dubai are the only two emirates to have veto power over critical matters of national importance in the country's legislature. The city of Dubai is located on the emirate's northern coastline and heads the Dubai-Sharjah-Ajman metropolitan area. Dubai will host World Expo 2020.
Dubai has emerged as a global city and business hub of the Middle East. It is also a major transport hub for passengers and cargo. By the 1960s, Dubai's economy was based on revenues from trade and, to a smaller extent, oil exploration concessions, but oil was not discovered until 1966. Oil revenue first started to flow in 1969. Dubai's oil revenue helped accelerate the early development of the city, but its reserves are limited and production levels are low: today, less than 5% of the emirate's revenue comes from oil.
The emirate's Western-style model of business drives its economy with the main revenues now coming from tourism, aviation, real estate, and financial services. Dubai has recently attracted world attention through many innovative large construction projects and sports events. The city has become iconic for its skyscrapers and high-rise buildings, in particular the world's tallest building, the Burj Khalifa. Dubai has been criticised for human rights violations concerning the city's largely South Asian and Filipino workforce. Dubai's property market experienced a major deterioration in 2008–09 following the financial crisis of 2007–08.
As of 2012, Dubai was the 22nd most expensive city in the world and the most expensive city in the Middle East.
Many theories have been proposed as to the origin of the word "Dubai". One theory suggests the word was used to describe the souq, which was similar to the souq in Ba. Another theory states that the name came from a word meaning "money", as people from Dubai were commonly believed to be rich due to the thriving trading centre of the location. An Arabic proverb says "Daba Dubai", meaning "They came with a lot of money." According to Fedel Handhal, a scholar on the UAE's history and culture, the word Dubai may have come from the word daba, which means "to creep"), referring to the slow flow of Dubai Creek inland. The poet and scholar Ahmad Mohammad Obaid traces it to the same word, but to its alternative meaning of "baby locust" due to the abundant nature of locusts in the area before settlement. An inhabitant or native of the city is a Dubaian.
During the 1970s, Dubai continued to grow from revenues generated from oil and trade, even as the city saw an influx of immigrants fleeing the Lebanese civil war. Border disputes between the emirates continued even after the formation of the UAE; it was only in 1979 that a formal compromise was reached that ended disagreements. The Jebel Ali port was established in 1979. JAFZA (Jebel Ali Free Zone) was built around the port in 1985 to provide foreign companies unrestricted import of labour and export capital. Dubai airport and the aviation industry also continued to grow.
The Gulf War of 1990 had a negative financial effect on the city, as depositors withdrew their money and traders withdrew their trade, but subsequently, the city recovered in a changing political climate and thrived. Later in the 1990s, many foreign trading communities—first from Kuwait, during the Gulf War, and later from Bahrain, during the Shia unrest—moved their businesses to Dubai. Large increases in oil prices after the Gulf War encouraged Dubai to continue to focus on free trade and tourism.
Dubai is situated on the Persian Gulf coast of the United Arab Emirates and is roughly at sea level (16m above). The emirate of Dubai shares borders with Abu Dhabi in the south, Sharjah in the northeast, and the Sultanate of Oman in the southeast. Hatta, a minor exclave of the emirate, is surrounded on three sides by Oman and by the emirates of Ajman (in the west) and Ras Al Khaimah (in the north). The Persian Gulf borders the western coast of the emirate. Dubai is positioned at 25.2697N - 55.3095E and covers an area of 1588km2, which represents a significant expansion beyond its initial 1500km2 designation due to land reclamation from the sea.
Dubai lies directly within the Arabian Desert. However, the topography of Dubai is significantly different from that of the southern portion of the UAE in that much of Dubai's landscape is highlighted by sandy desert patterns, while gravel deserts dominate much of the southern region of the country. The sand consists mostly of crushed shell and coral and is fine, clean and white. East of the city, the salt-crusted coastal plains, known as sabkha, give way to a north-south running line of dunes. Farther east, the dunes grow larger and are tinged red with iron oxide.
The flat sandy desert gives way to the Western Hajar Mountains, which run alongside Dubai's border with Oman at Hatta. The Western Hajar chain has an arid, jagged and shattered landscape, whose mountains rise to about 1300m in some places. Dubai has no natural river bodies or oases; however, Dubai does have a natural inlet, Dubai Creek, which has been dredged to make it deep enough for large vessels to pass through. Dubai also has multiple gorges and waterholes, which dot the base of the Western Al Hajar mountains. A vast sea of sand dunes covers much of southern Dubai and eventually leads into the desert known as The Empty Quarter.
The sandy desert surrounding the city supports wild grasses and occasional date palms. Desert hyacinths grow in the sabkha plains east of the city, while acacia and ghaf trees grow in the flat plains within the proximity of the Western Al Hajar mountains. Several indigenous trees such as the date palm and neem as well as imported trees such as the eucalypts grow in Dubai's natural parks. The houbara bustard, striped hyena, caracal, desert fox, falcon and Arabian oryx are common in Dubai's desert. More than 320 migratory bird species pass through the emirate in spring and autumn. The waters of Dubai are home to more than 300 species of fish, including the hammour. The typical marine life off the Dubai coast includes tropical fish, jellyfish, coral, dugong, dolphins, whales and sharks. Various types of turtles can also be found in the area including the hawksbill turtle and green turtle, which are listed as endangered species.
Dubai Creek runs northeast-southwest through the city. The eastern section of the city forms the locality of Deira and is flanked by the emirate of Sharjah in the east and the town of Al Aweer in the south. The Dubai International Airport is located south of Deira, while the Palm Deira is located north of Deira in the Persian Gulf. Much of Dubai's real-estate boom is concentrated to the west of Dubai Creek, on the Jumeirah coastal belt. Port Rashid, Jebel Ali, Burj Al Arab, the Palm Jumeirah and theme-based free-zone clusters such as Business Bay are all located in this section.
Dubai has a hot desert climate. Summers in Dubai are extremely hot, windy, and humid, with an average high around 41°C and overnight lows around 30°C in the hottest month, August. Most days are sunny throughout the year. Winters are warm with an average high of 24°C and overnight lows of 14°C in January, the coldest month. Precipitation, however, has been increasing in the last few decades, with accumulated rain reaching 94.3mm2 per year. Dubai summers are also known for the moderate to high humidity level, which can make it uncomfortable for many.
Governance and politicsEdit
Dubai has been ruled by the Al Maktoum family since 1833; the emirate is an absolute monarchy with no elections (other than the few thousand Dubai citizens participating in the electoral college for the Federal National Council of the UAE). The ruler, Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, is also the Vice President and Prime Minister of the United Arab Emirates and member of the Supreme Council of the Union (SCU). Dubai appoints 8 members in two-term periods to the Federal National Council (FNC) of the UAE, the supreme federal legislative body.
The Dubai Municipality (DM) was established by the then-ruler of Dubai, Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum, in 1954 for purposes of city planning, citizen services and upkeep of local facilities. DM is chaired by Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, deputy ruler of Dubai, and comprises several departments such as the Roads Department, Planning and Survey Department, Environment and Public Health Department and Financial Affairs Department. In 2001, Dubai Municipality embarked on an e-Government project with the intention of providing 40 of its city services through its web portal, [dubai.ae]. Thirteen such services were launched by October 2001, while several other services were expected to be operational in the future. Dubai Municipality is also in charge of the city's sanitation and sewage infrastructure.
The UAE has a Minister of Happiness, appointed by his High Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. The UAE has also appointed a Minister of Tolerance to promote tolerance as a fundamental value of the UAE, a country filled with a diverse range of faiths and ethnicities,
Ethnicity and languagesEdit
According to the census conducted by the Statistics Centre of Dubai, the population of the emirate was 1,771,000 (2009), which included 1,370,000 males and 401,000 females. As of January 2017, the population is 2,704,278. The region covers 497.1mi2. The population density is 408.18/km2 – more than eight times that of the entire country. Dubai is the second most expensive city in the region and 20th most expensive city in the world.
As of 2013, only about 15% of the population of the emirate was made up of UAE nationals,with the rest comprising expatriates, many of whom either have been in the country for generations or were born in the UAE. Approximately 85% of the expatriate population (and 71% of the emirate's total population) was Asian, chiefly Indian (51%) and Pakistani (16%); other significant Asian groups include Bangladeshis (9%) and Filipinos (3%). There is a sizable community of Somalis numbering around 30,000, as well as other communities of various nationalities. A quarter of the population (local and foreign) reportedly traces their origins to Iran. In addition, 16% of the population (or 288,000 persons) living in collective labour accommodation were not identified by ethnicity or nationality, but were thought to be primarily Asian. The median age in the emirate was about 27 years. In 2014, there were estimated to be 15.54 births and 1.99 deaths per 1,000 people. There are other Arab nationals, including GCC nationals.
Arabic is the national and official language of the United Arab Emirates. The Gulf dialect of Arabic is spoken natively by the Emirati people. Other major languages spoken in Dubai due to immigration are Malayalam, Hindi-Urdu (or Hindustani), Gujarati, Persian, Sindhi, Tamil, Punjabi, Pashto, Bengali, Balochi, Tulu, Kannada, Sinhala, Marathi, Telugu, Tagalog and Chinese, in addition to many other languages.
One of the world's fastest growing economies, Although a number of core elements of Dubai's trading infrastructure were built on the back of the oil industry,revenues from oil and natural gas account for less than 5% of the emirate's revenues. It is estimated that Dubai produces 50000 to 70000 barels of oil a day and substantial quantities of gas from offshore fields. The emirate's share in the UAE's total gas revenues is about 2%. Dubai's oil reserves have diminished significantly and are expected to be exhausted in 20 years.
Dubai's non-oil foreign trade stood at $362 billion in 2014. Of the overall trade volumes, imports had the biggest share with a value of $230 billion while exports and re-exports to the emirate stood at $31 billion and $101 billion respectively.
By 2014, China had emerged as Dubai's largest international trading partner, with a total of $47.7 billion in trade flows, up 29% from 2013. India was second among Dubai's key trading partners with a trade of $29.7 billion, followed by the United States at $22.62 billion. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia was Dubai's fourth trading partner globally and first in the GCC and Arab world with a total trade value of $14.2 billion.
Historically, Dubai and its twin across Dubai Creek, Deira (independent of Dubai City at that time), were important ports of call for Western manufacturers. Most of the new city's banking and financial centres were headquartered in the port area. Dubai maintained its importance as a trade route through the 1970s and 1980s. Dubai has a free trade in gold and, until the 1990s, was the hub of a "brisk smuggling trade" of gold ingots to India, where gold import was restricted. Dubai's Jebel Ali port, constructed in the 1970s, has the largest man-made harbour in the world and was ranked seventh globally for the volume of container traffic it supports. Dubai is also a hub for service industries such as information technology and finance, with industry-specific free zones throughout the city. Dubai Internet City, combined with Dubai Media City as part of TECOM (Dubai Technology, Electronic Commerce and Media Free Zone Authority), is one such enclave, whose members include IT firms such as Hewlett-Packard, EMC Corporation, Oracle Corporation, Microsoft, Dell and IBM, and media organisations such as MBC, CNN, BBC, Reuters, Sky News and AP.
The Dubai Financial Market (DFM) was established in March 2000 as a secondary market for trading securities and bonds, both local and foreign. As of fourth quarter 2006, its trading volume stood at about 400 billion shares, worth $95 billion in total. The DFM had a market capitalisation of about $87 billion. The other Dubai-based stock exchange is NASDAQ Dubai, which is the international stock exchange in the Middle East. It enables a range of companies, including UAE and regional small and medium-sized enterprises, to trade on an exchange with an international brand name, with access by both regional and international investors.
Dubai is also known as the City of Gold, because a major part of the economy is based on gold trades, with Dubai's total gold trading volumes in H1 2011 reaching 580 tonnes, with an average price of US$1,455 per troy ounce.
Dubai has launched several major projects to support its economy and develop different sectors. These include Dubai Fashion 2020, and Dubai Design District, expected to become a home to leading local and international designers. The AED 4 billion first phase of the project will be complete by January 2015.
Dubai has a rich collection of buildings and structures of various architectural styles. A culmination point was reached in 2010 with the completion of the Burj Khalifa, now by far the world's tallest building at 829.8m. The completion of the Khalifa Tower, following the construction boom that began in the 1980s, accelerated in the 1990s, and took on a rapid pace of construction unparalleled in modern human history during the decade of the 2000s, leaves Dubai with the world's tallest skyline as of 4 January 2010.
Burj Al ArabEdit
The Burj Al Arab, a luxury hotel, is frequently described as "the world's only 7-star", though its management has said it has never made that claim. A Jumeirah Group spokesperson is quoted as saying: "There's not a lot we can do to stop it. We're not encouraging the use of the term. We've never used it in our advertising."
Burj Khalifa is an 828m high skyscraper in Dubai, and the tallest man-made building in the world. The tower was inspired by the structure of the desert flower named as Hymenocallis. It was constructed by more than 30 contracting companies around the world with 100 nationalities of workers.
Dubai is home to several man-made islands, most of which were created in the 2000s and 2010s.
The Palm Jumeirah is an artificial archipelago, created using land reclamation by Nakheel, a company owned by the Dubai government, and designed and developed by Helman Hurley Charvat Peacock/Architects, Inc. It is one of three planned islands called the Palm Islands which entend into the Persian Gulf. The Palm Jumeirah is the smallest and the original of three Palm Islands, and it is located on the Jumeirah coastal area of Dubai. It was built between 2001 and 2006.
Dubai Miracle GardenEdit
On February 14, 2013, the Dubai Miracle Garden, a 72,000m flower garden, opened in Dubailand. It is the world's largest flower garden. The garden has a total of 45 million flowers with re-use of waste water through drip irrigation. During the summer seasons from late May to September when the climate can get extremely hot with an average high of about 40°C, the garden stays closed.
Transport in Dubai is controlled by the Roads and Transport Authority (RTA), an agency of the government of Dubai, formed by royal decree in 2005. The public transport network has in the past faced congestion and reliability issues which a large investment programme has addressed, including over AED 70 billion of improvements planned for completion by 2020, when the population of the city is projected to exceed 3.5 million. In 2009, according to Dubai Municipality statistics, there were an estimated 1,021,880 cars in Dubai. In January 2010, the number of Dubai residents who use public transport stood at 6%.