International Handbook of Globalization and World Cities
Show Less

International Handbook of Globalization and World Cities

Edited by Ben Derudder, Michael Hoyler, Peter J. Taylor and Frank Witlox

This Handbook offers an unrivalled overview of current research into how globalization is affecting the external relations and internal structures of major cities in the world.
Buy Book in Print
Show Summary Details
You do not have access to this content

Chapter 49: ‘The World City Concept Travels East’: On Excessive Imagination and Limited Urban Sustainability in UAE World Cities

David Bassens


David Bassens This chapter discusses the fast-growing United Arab Emirates (UAE) cities Abu Dhabi and Dubai, which, although emblematic of urban-centred growth, have attracted surprisingly little attention in world cities literature. Although the 2009 debt crisis in Dubai has raised questions about urban sustainability in the wider Gulf region, both cities have been prospering as nodes of global flows of money, people and goods. Perhaps most indicative of this is the fast and massive population growth both cities have experienced in recent decades. In Dubai, the population rose from ca. 40 000 in the 1960s to more than 1.6 million in 2008 (, accessed 10 February 2010), while Abu Dhabi’s urban population reached ca. 800 000 in early 2010 (, accessed 10 February 2010), compared with a mere 25 000 in the 1960s. A lot of the initial population growth resulted from the discovery of oil in the early part of this period. As a consequence, earlier forms of subsistence such as pearl diving, smuggling and manual production lost their importance, while the influx of oil industry workers and windfall oil money transformed these formerly small settlements into a specific urban form which Khalaf (2006) identifies as ‘oil cities’. More recently, however, in a move to diversify their economies away from oil dependency, the ruling families (Abu Dhabi’s al-Nahyan and Dubai’s al-Makhtoum) have endorsed the development of cities within their realms as centres of business, trade and advanced servicing – quite successfully, so it appears, as even during the global financial...

You are not authenticated to view the full text of this chapter or article.

Elgaronline requires a subscription or purchase to access the full text of books or journals. Please login through your library system or with your personal username and password on the homepage.

Non-subscribers can freely search the site, view abstracts/ extracts and download selected front matter and introductory chapters for personal use.

Your library may not have purchased all subject areas. If you are authenticated and think you should have access to this title, please contact your librarian.

Further information

or login to access all content.