Four Middle Eastern Urban Projects

In our Middle-East issue, we discuss the creative flair of d3, Dubai’s design district that represents the shifting priorities of Dubai’s leaders who are looking to invest in local craft and business. As commerce experts look to the future of GCC’s possibilities in the economic landscape, we have our eyes on other emerging developments that are parallel to d3’s ambition. Here are four upcoming urban areas that will inject new opportunities into GCC’s spectrum of offerings.

  • Madinat al-Hareer, Kuwait

Also known as Silk City, this radical development has seen an estimated $132 billion investment from the government as well as an undisclosed sum from private backers. Located opposite the Kuwaiti capital, Kuwait City, plans to construct Silk City were unveiled in 2011. The project is expected to provide 450,000 jobs through its plethora of convention centres, boutiques and the much-discussed Burj Mubarak, the 1001 metre long skyscraper that will house 7 vertical villages and hotels. The specificity of the tower’s length is said to be an ode to the folktale ‘1001 Arabian Nights’, exemplifying the Middle-East’s ability to infuse progression with tradition.

The majority of construction of Madinat al-Hareer is expected to be complete in 2023, with the Burj Mubarak predicted to be finalised in a further 25 years.

  • Bahrain Bay, Manama

The capital of Bahrain is experiencing a metamorphosis of sorts. In a rapid momentum of innovation, the Bahrain Bay Development was envisioned as an urban paradise that frames Manama’s waterfront. The master planned infrastructure is nearing completion, having begun in 2007, but the evolving investment into the project has seen further additions such as a J.W Marriott Hotel and Wafra Tower.

Bahrain Bay Development has already been recognised with numerous prizes, such as the 2014 AIA Design Award for Urban Planning.

  • King Abdullah Financial District, Riyadh

In a much publicised concept to make Saudi Arabia an attractive destination for businesspeople and tourists alike, the government has invested in the King Abdullah Financial District, a $10 billion project that has been in construction since 2006. With 73 buildings, the financial district was conceived as to alleviate the reliance on oil in Saudi Arabia, spotlight local businesses and to further emphasise the rapidly changing perceptions of Riyadh.

  • Meydan One Mall, Dubai

Dubai’s ambitions in real estate is one of the city’s most famous traits. In 2017, a ceremony took place to announce construction of Meydan One Mall, a 6,697,550 square foot retail district envisioned as a ‘Place for Everybody’. To describe it merely as a shopping centre would undermine the scope of Meydan One; over 600 retail stores will be accompanied by a selection of more than 100 restaurants and cafes that will entertain visitors under a retractable skylight that will make the mall both an indoor and outdoor experience.

In line with Dubai’s reputation of forward-thinking approach to activities, shopping and eating will not be all that one can do at Meydan One. In addition to a 1km ski slope, water sports on the canal which will run through the project, Meydan One will host Residential One, a 711m residential tower that will be able to house 83,000 people.

In 2020, Meydan One is expected to open to the public and details will continue to be released as the mall nears completion.


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