Abu Dhabi

End of last week, a colleague’s brother and his family flew out of Christchurch to take up work and residence in Abu Dhabi, the largest member of the United Arab Emirates federation and a major oil exporter. Population: one million.

It’s a place I know little about, except through Youtube videos profiling the fantasmic architecture and the forward-looking strategic plan.

At The Chronicles of Yarnia we mention Abu Dhabi will debut Personal Rapid Transit “Podcars” later this year.

Tonight, there’s more news feed on Abu Dhabi’s financial aid for Dubai.


### TVNZ News 6:52PM Monday December 14, 2009
Abu Dhabi gives Dubai surprise bailout
Source: Reuters
Abu Dhabi stepped in to help fellow United Arab Emirates member Dubai with a $US10 billion injection, of which $US4.1 billion was allocated to troubled state-owned conglomerate Dubai World to pay immediate obligations, Dubai said on Monday.
Read more


usnewsandworldreport 15 July 2008
Saadiyat Island in Abu Dhabi, UAE will become a cultural centre with organic, postmodern and cutting-edge architecture designed by world-class architects including Jean Nouvel, Zaha Hadid, Frank Gehry, and Tadao Ando. These futuristing buildings include the Louvre Abu Dabi, Abu Dabi Performing Arts Center, Abu Dabi Guggenheim Museum, and Maritime Museum.


squintopera 17 June 2008
The Urban Planning Council of Abu Dhabi (UPC) appointed Squint Opera to create a short film illustrating their grand Urban Planning Guide for Abu Dhabi. The film was presented at Cityscape Abu Dhabi, 13-15 May 2008.

The film communicates the principles and visualises the UPC plans for the expansion of the city to attract investors, developers and architects. The UPC commissioned this film as an awe-inspiring vision demonstrating the scale, ambition and radical nature of the plan.

Alice Scott directed the six-minute film that describes the plan in 3D, bringing life to certain aspects of the unique environment and a future evolving culture. Through 4 main key themes (Green – Live – Work – Connect) we are shown pedestrians walking the shaded sidewalks, using the world-class metro system and trams surrounded by green, energy saving residential townhouses, villas, high rises, offices and retail developments. The imagery shows desert landscaping, renewable energy measures and water-cooling canals in the streets of Abu Dhabi and demonstrates a efficient quality of life for the future population.

Posted by Elizabeth Kerr


Filed under Architecture, Business, Construction, Design, Economics, Geography, Innovation, Media, People, Politics, Project management, Property, Site, Tourism, Town planning, Urban design

14 responses to “Abu Dhabi

  1. The management of Abu Dhabi is quite wise, and, has and will always be supportive of Dubai.

    Dubai currently has the largest projects in the world, that’s why almost all Project Managers are flocking there.

  2. and this book is on my xmas wish list


    Its in UBS Dunedin and it’s stunning!!!

    Great post Elizabeth.

  3. Phil

    The projects to date in Dubai have been very exciting, and have explored areas of construction technology which have benefited and advanced construction techniques worldwide. I guess you could call it the Renaissance Period for the construction industry. I think we will see a clearly identifiable stamp on worldwide architecture for the next 10 or 20 years as a result. The new Art Deco, and we’ll be fighting to preserve these in 100 years.

    Of course the downside to the Dubai exercise is that it never was sustainable as a long term project. For every new construction project underway today, there’s two that have been abandoned. In the last couple of weeks I’ve spoken with people from 3 international engineering consultancies, each employing around 8,000 staff worldwide. Two of the companies invested heavily in the Dubai region, and are now really fighting for their company’s survival. They will be ok, but they are doing it tough right now with cancelled contracts and non payment. Both of these also have a strong UK presence, and of course construction has come to a grinding halt there. So it’s a really hard slog for them, and the feeling is that they will not be returning to the region in the foreseeable future.

    The third company also had a presence in Dubai, but had the foresight not to rely on just the one volatile market. So they’ve been able to pull out of the region relatively unscathed. A couple of major contracts cancelled, but minimal effect on resources.

    What interested me about this third company, is that their prime focus today, and they are primarily European based, is in Vietnam and in India. Energy and infrastructure projects in these regions have exploded, particularly in the areas of sustainable energy technologies. I did point out that this could well be another Dubai, but they seem quietly confident. Energy and infrastructure projects create sustainable progress in the way that one-off building projects do not. I tend to agree. Watch India as the next major player in the field of smart technologies.

    • Elizabeth

      I’ll track some material on India…most of the overviews published this month on their economy and performance are pretty dry. Copenhagen poses dilemmas obviously.

      Poor, hot and politically constrained
      India and climate-change negotiations
      Back to basics

      ### http://www.economist.com Dec 3rd 2009 | DELHI
      From The Economist print edition
      What India has to offer in Copenhagen

      A steely lot, India’s negotiators for the Copenhagen climate talks, to be held from December 7th, are still afraid of abandonment by China. India’s position looks formidable, so long as the world’s other and mightier billion-strong developing nation shares its demands: for the sanctity of the principles enshrined in the Kyoto protocol (KP), which exempts developing countries from having to curb (or mitigate) their carbon emissions. India’s champions therefore had a fright last week when China said it would undertake to cut the carbon intensity of its economy—or the amount of carbon dioxide emitted for each unit of GDP—by 40-45% by 2020, compared with 2005 levels. As The Economist went to press, India was rumoured to be following suit, by announcing its own targets for carbon-intensity cuts.
      Read more

      • Elizabeth

        ### http://www.ecommercetimes.com
        Sustainability Lessons From India: Q&A With Environmental Consultant Trudy Heller
        By Anthony Mitchell
        E-Commerce Times 01/06/09 5:00 AM PT

        India has been stereotyped as a third-world country trying to break into the ranks of industrialised nations but forsaking environmental sustainability in its quest. The reality, according to Trudy Heller, is quite different. The West could learn a thing or two from India, she says.

        An American’s first impressions of India often include images of alternate approaches to trash management, intermittent electrical power supplies and issues of environmental sustainability.

        In this interview with Trudy Heller, those approaches are seen from the perspective of Heller’s work designing products for environmental sustainability and providing training to executives in environmental management.

        Heller is the president of Executive Education for the Environment, based in Swarthmore, Pa. She recently visited India to assist in setting up an environmental management training program at the new Indian Institute of Management in Shillong, the capital of the state of Meghalaya, Northeast India.
        Read more

        • Elizabeth

          Indian Wind Energy Association

          The Indian wind energy sector has an installed capacity of 10,464.00 MW (as on July 31, 2009). In terms of wind power installed capacity, India is ranked 5th in the World. Today India is a major player in the global wind energy market.

          The potential is far from exhausted. Indian Wind Energy Association has estimated that with the current level of technology, the ‘on-shore’ potential for utilisation of wind energy for electricity generation is of the order of 65,000 MW. The unexploited resource availability has the potential to sustain the growth of wind energy sector in India in the years to come.
          Read more

          Wind Energy Programme in India



          4-5 February, 2010
          The World Institute of Sustainable Energy (WISE) is organizing ‘R.E. Regulation India 2010’ – the first such comprehensive conference to be held in India that aims to facilitate multi-stakeholder deliberations on the past experiences of R.E. regulation and chart the way forward towards an ‘electricity source’ future

          21-25 September, 2010
          Besides being the most significant international wind energy trade fair for the last 20 years, HUSUM WindEnergy is also an important meeting place for the industry’s who’s who. Held once in two years, the event will include daily international events, scientific conferences, and hourly changing “company innovations” programme. The conference will also present the latest wind energy topics and trends, which will be discussed at over 60 specialised programmes by around 150 speakers from all over the world. The upcoming event expects to see around 800 exhibitors and 25,000 visitors from 70 nations.

  4. Phil

    As you pointed out, Elizabeth, one does not automatically think of India when thinking about technology and innovation. But, as your excellent articles show, it’s quite the opposite. When we were discussing the Allanton situation a few weeks back and I was trying to track down the local supplier of the solids separating eco toilets, I came across a number of articles detailing the systems in India. They are working daily with new technologies that much of the rest of the world is barely scratching the surface of.

    I guess the big advantage that India has today is enormous land resources, and very low overheads. It will be interesting to see if they can maintain that edge as their economy begins to reap the benefits of their new energy projects.

    I also noted that Sweden has set itself an ambitious target of becoming the world’s first fossil fuel free country by 2020. This is a country that is very similar to NZ in terms of size and topography (with I think twice the population). It will be interesting to see how close they get, and what lessons we can learn from them.

    Could be some cheap Volvos up for sale soon.

  5. Phil

    Ok, checking a little further it looks like Sweden has revised it’s target date to 2030, with a 50% reduction in fossil fuel use by 2020. But one county with a population of just under 80,000 is staying with the original target date. Biogas from landfills and treatment plants, together with other renewable energy sources, now fuel all heating systems, both commercial and residential. Public transport and council vehicles are fueled by biogas. Wind turbine, water turbine and solar power supplies most of the electricity, with work still underway in that area.

    • Elizabeth

      ### http://www.politico.com 12/16/09 10:48 AM EST
      Chaos at climate conference
      By Glenn Thrush
      COPENHAGEN — The Copenhagen climate change conference appeared to be imploding from within and exploding from without on Wednesday. Police fired tear gas, brandished batons and detained more than 200 protesters who tried to push through the security cordon around the Bella Center, as negotiations inside bogged down, for the second time this week, over differences between China and the West over emissions, funding issues and transparency.
      Read more

      • Elizabeth

        The links between India and Dubai… (briefly problematically edited down)

        [first stop] ### Wikipedia on Dubai
        Dubai (in Arabic: دبيّ‎, Dubayy) is one of the seven emirates of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It is located south of the Persian Gulf on the Arabian Peninsula.
        The emirate’s main revenues are from tourism, property and financial services. Although Dubai’s economy was originally built on the oil industry, revenues from petroleum and natural gas currently contribute less than 6% (2006) of the emirate’s US$ 80 billion economy (2009). Property and construction contributed 22.6% to the economy in 2005, before the current large-scale construction boom.
        Dubai has attracted attention through its real estate projects and sports events. This increased attention, coinciding with its emergence as a global city and business hub, has highlighted labour and human rights issues concerning its largely South Asian workforce.
        Established in 2004, the Dubai International Finance Centre was intended as a landmark project to turn Dubai into a major international hub for banks and finance, rivalling New York, London, and Hong Kong.

        …On 2 December 1971 Dubai, together with Abu Dhabi and five other emirates, formed the United Arab Emirates after former protector Britain left the Persian Gulf in 1971. The discovery of oil led to a massive influx of foreign workers, mainly Indians and Pakistanis. The city’s population from 1968 to 1975 grew by over 300 percent, by some estimates.

        …The Persian Gulf War of 1990 had a huge effect on the city. Depositors withdrew massive amounts of money from Dubai banks due to uncertain political conditions in the region. Later in the 1990s many foreign trading communities — first from Kuwait, during the Persian Gulf War, and later from Bahrain, during the Shia unrest — moved their businesses to Dubai. Dubai provided refueling bases to allied forces at the Jebel Ali free zone during the Persian Gulf War, and again, during the 2003 Invasion of Iraq. Large increases in oil prices after the Persian Gulf War encouraged Dubai to continue to focus on free trade and tourism.
        Read more

        ### online.wsj.com November 27, 2009, 7:45 A.M. ET
        India Companies Say Dubai Exposure Limited
        By Romit Guha, Prasenjit Bhattacharya and Santanu Choudury
        MUMBAI – Major Indian companies Friday said they have limited exposure to Dubai, and that they don’t expect to be affected much by the troubles at Dubai World. But investors, shaken by Dubai World Wednesday announcing a six-month standstill on its $59 billion debt, continued to sell down shares of engineering, construction, real estate companies and of banks. The Dubai World conglomerate is the city-state’s largest corporate entity, spanning the real estate, port and leisure sectors. Indian infrastructure and construction companies are involved in residential and commercial construction across the Gulf, from building apartments to constructing cooling towers and complex oil and gas installations.

        …Indians make up about 40% of the population in the United Arab Emirates – of which Dubai is the second-largest state. But most of them are in low-skilled jobs, a segment which is unlikely to see job cuts despite broad economic woes, say analysts.
        Read more

        A bit past tense but this one to indicate comparative wealth/debt:

        ### rediff.com December 04, 2009 11:52 IST
        Should India rescue Dubai?
        By TVR Shenoy
        Is this the time for India to use its forex reserves to bail out Dubai? The emirate might be grateful, but how would the others in the United Arab Emirates react?

        …Dubai World owes about US $80 billion, of which about US $3.5 billion is due when a Nakheel bond matures on December 14.
        …Those are not small sums, but to put things into perspective the neighbouring Emirate of Abu Dhabi is sitting on a sovereign wealth fund worth over US $650 billion. (India has about US $285 billion in reserves and the Euro zone holds about US $530 billion.) Basically, Abu Dhabi could end Dubai’s credit crisis in a minute if it felt like it.
        …Could India do anything to give Dubai a helping hand, especially now that the GDP figures have stunned everyone with their robust health? It is, I suppose, one of the things that Indian policy-makers might keep in mind as they pore over their options — if only to show how far India has come.
        Read more

        • Elizabeth

          Yep, concern being phoned and emailed around rural climes today, well all week actually…and not just the Feds worried.

          ### ODT Online Fri, 18 Dec 2009
          Fed Farmers uneasy about Maori farm purchases
          Federated Farmers is urging farmers to conduct strict due diligence checks before signing sale contracts in the wake of reports that a Maori trust claiming to have financial backing from Dubai World has been contracted to buy 28 farms in Southland for more than $150 million.
          Read more

          ### ODT Online Fri, 18 Dec 2009
          Trust buys 28 farms in South
          By Neal Wallace
          A Maori trust, with financial backing believed to come from Dubai, has contracted to buy 28 farms in Southland, with plans to buy others throughout the country.
          Read more

        • Elizabeth

          ### TVNZ News 12:47PM Friday December 18, 2009
          Greens press govt on rumoured land grab
          Source: Newstalk ZB/NZPA
          The Green Party is calling on the government to tighten the rules over what it sees as a land grab by foreign interests. Green co leader Russel Norman is worried about reports that a New Zealand buyer is acting as a proxy for a subsidiary of the Dubai government to buy thousands of hectares of South Island farmland. Norman says the Overseas Investment Act needs to be strengthened to stop back door deals.
          Read more + Video

        • Elizabeth

          The ominous and worse unfolding! (if you’re in over your head and tempted to sell your dairy farm…)

          ### sstlive.co.nz Last updated 05:00 20/12/2009
          Fraud office alerted on sale of farms to mystery Arabs
          By Tim Hume – Sunday Star Times
          The Serious Fraud Office has been brought into the controversy over a Maori trust’s move to buy thousands of hectares of prime Southland farmland, after revelations that an alleged fraudster is involved.
          Federated Farmers rural security spokesman David Rose said the organisation was “urging a lot of caution” over the offers, and, on Friday afternoon, notified the Serious Fraud Office after learning about the involvement of bankrupt Australian “kaumatua” Shane Wenzel in the scheme. Rose said he did not know of anybody who had seen any evidence the Arab backer actually existed.
          Read more

          More at ODT Online Mon, 21 Dec 2009.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s