A Universe of Man-Made Islands Coming to Dubai?

Sunday, on the heels of the completion of a massive project, property development company, Nakheel, unveiled another Dubai mega-project. If given the go ahead, The Universe Islands would add more than 7,500 acres worth of man-made islands to an already crowded coastline.

The proposed Universe Islands, depicted just under The World IslandsThe proposed Universe Islands, depicted just under The World Islands

Apparently ready to jump back into the water only a week after completing their flagship World Islands , Nakheel's new project is expected to take up to 15 years to complete. The new project will go in the space directly between the coast and the World Islands, with Nakheel's Palm Islands sitting on both sides. The location of the Universe has already generated ire from the well-heeled residents of the World Islands, concerned about their views and their ability to access their private islands from the coast.

Environmental concerns also threaten the project. Construction of the World Islands has destroyed coral and, at least temporarily, ruined visibility in the otherwise crystal clear waters surrounding the site. Changes in the waterways may also erode nearby beaches, which are major Dubai tourist attractions.

Of course, with stock markets worldwide sliding and real estate losing its luster this author is not so sure that Nakheel will go ahead with The Universe. While oil-rich Middle Eastern states have profited from record oil prices, one only has to look as far as the last recession in Asia to see just how quickly those oil prices can drop.

Sources: Gulf News , Arabian Business , MSNBC

Lee Nunley
Middle Eastern Innovations Writer