Christina/ April 11, 2010/ Culture

There is more to the Gulf than the highest tower of the world, the only seven star hotel in the world or a metro that moves without a conductor. Thinking of the Gulf states is often synonymous with thinking of Dubai – the most prominent state. However, there are only a few who are aware of the fact that also the neighbouring states are chasing ambitious plans.
Dubai is the first state that will have to do without its oil-wealth soon. Estimations have it that the natural blessing will come to end in the next five years. The country’s ruler took that into account early by setting up another second and third pillar in the sector of tourism and economy. Meanwhile the other Gulf states could sit and wait.
And this is what they are up for: The competition for leading positions within the regional city system is about to continue. The counterparts are Abu Dhabi, Dubai’s powerful godfather, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait and last but not least Saudi Arabia, which had been buttoned down up to now.

Abu Dhabi still tries to establish itself as a metropolis for art and culture of the Gulf region. Next to the transplantation of a Louvre branch to the Arabic Gulf the projected building of Masdar City, an ecological city, is newsworthy. Since 2006 construction works are on their way. 50.000 people are supposed to live there one day, electricity shall come from alternative energy sources.
Next candidate is Qatar, whose natural gasoline ressources of 14 % rank third in the world after Russia and Iran. Qatar that once made positive headlines by its commitment with German’s car manufacturers VW and now plans to erect a huge industrial zone called “Ras Laffan” (approx. 106 square kilometres, an expansion to 205 square kilometres is projected).

„Little Bahrain“, known in Europe for its commitment in motor sports and a popular weekend destination within the region with no ban on alcohol, has been the leading offshore-financial hotspot for the last thirty years – almost unnoticed by the world public. Plus, in recent years it has established itself as a center for Islamic banking.

Kuwait’s figure head is called Madinat Al Hareer. With the help of the project the state tries to put itself back into discussion after the Iraqi attack some years ago. “City of Silk that is the promising name of the large-scale project. Reading the news-clippings on the corresponding web-site one might wonder what has happened since 2006? The erection of Burj Mubarak al-kabir is meant to finally outrank its neighbour Dubai – the tower is supposed to have a hight of 1.001 m.

Last but not least: Saudi Arabia. The Kingdom’s prestige project is the King Abdullah Economic City. The euphonious name masks a superlative. With an area of 168 square metres the city is modeled for 2 million inhabitants and furthermore 1.8 million citizens within the greater area. The town is located at the Red Sea between Jiddah and the holy city of Mekka. The completion of the project is not settled yet. Let us take potluck on this. You’ll never know what the next big thing in the Gulf States will be.

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