If we ever harbored the sentiment that Dubai’s dubious construction blitz would slow in times of economic unrest, the astronomical scale of the UAE’s latest project will surely dispel these qualms. Dubai’s largest developer, Nakheel, recently revealed plans for an entire archipelago of universe-themed islands at a $20 million dollar opening party for the Atlantis Resort. The cosmic string of strands will feature a sun, stars, and planets, and will be situated inshore of the already constructed World Islands.
As if Dubai needed to further justify its status as an out-of-this-world tourist destination, the emirate has decided to step things up by constructing a universe-themed chain of islands. The Universe will comprise 3,000 hectares of land and will take 15 to 20 years to build. Curiously, the astronomical project was launched as part of Nakheel’s recently debuted Blue Communities initiative. The program promises cleaner water, less pollution, and claims that developments like the universe are designed to help maintain and protect the world’s coastlines.
Dubai has already drawn a considerable amount of ire for its supermassive “green” projects that boast a questionable degree of sustainable credibility. Although man-made seawalls can certainly play an important role in preserving coastal ecology, it’s hard for us to justify a swirling archipelago of amoeba-shaped islands as the most efficient way to protect the world’s coastlines. Additionally, the techniques used in the construction of the World Islands have raised concerns over beach erosion, damage to coral reefs, and biodiversity.