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Dubai's Climate-Controlled Dome City Is a Dystopia Waiting To Happen 265

Posted by Soulskill
from the looking-forward-to-the-reality-tv-show dept.
Daniel_Stuckey writes: Dubai is building "the world's first climate-controlled city" — it's a 4.3 mile pedestrian mall that will be covered with a retractable dome to provide its shoppers with air conditioning in the summer heat. The Mall of the World, as it's called, will become the sort of spectacular, over-the-top attraction Dubai is known for. Shortly after, it will probably become an equally spectacular real-world dystopia.

By sectioning off a 3-million-square-foot portion of the city with an air conditioned dome, Dubai is dropping one of the most tangible partitions between the haves and the have nots of the modern era—the 100 hotels and apartment complexes inside the attraction will be cool, comfortable, and nestled into a entertainment-filled, if macabre, consumer paradise."
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Dubai's Climate-Controlled Dome City Is a Dystopia Waiting To Happen

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  • Humph (Score:4, Funny)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @05:22PM (#47420069)

    Someone sounds jealous...

    • Slaves of Dubai (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Jeremiah Cornelius (137) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @05:29PM (#47420165) Homepage Journal

      Someone sounds jealous...

      Someone is well-informed.
      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMh-vlQwrmU [youtube.com]

      • Re:Slaves of Dubai (Score:4, Insightful)

        by houstonbofh (602064) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @05:44PM (#47420271)

        Someone sounds jealous...

        Someone is well-informed. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gMh-vlQwrmU [youtube.com]

        Which has nothing to do with a dome, and everything to do with Dubai... The reaction to the dome is unfounded panic. Dubai will separate the people because Dubai separates the people. Dome, or no dome.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by lgw (121541)

          Plus this ignores the upside. I'd expect several staff per wealthy occupant of the dome, and so many poor enjoy the nice environment for each rich person. For Dubai, that's a step forward.

          • by red crab (1044734)
            How was this modded as Insightful? There's some difference, a lot of it in fact, in driving a Porsche for someone else and actually owning and driving it. This is a step backward in economic equality, but its like that in most of the parts of the world now these days, not just Dubai, so no use whining about it.
  • Overreaction (Score:5, Insightful)

    by qbast (1265706) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @05:23PM (#47420085)
    It is just a big mall with AC, not beginning of Mad Max. Calm down.
    • Exactly. Will it be gated, and entrants checked for their bank balance before entering? Then it's not a partition. And as for "dystopia", the submitter should probably check the definition of the word. It would hardly seem relevant to this creation.
      • When I was in Africa, the 2 malls I visited had 2 guards at every entrance with AK47's that did exactly that. We walked through as At one entrance a guard was a 60yr (I'm guessing) old african with grey/white hair, a velvet purple suit that looked like it was as old as he was, it had faded white fuzz in certain areas, he wore silver aviator sun glasses and his AK47 had an aged, glossy nickel silver finish. He stood motionless as we walked past. It was one of the most surreal sights I've ever laid eyes on.

  • by Kenja (541830) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @05:25PM (#47420105)
    It's just a mater of time before the desert swallows the place...
  • Life on Mars? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Prien715 (251944) <agnosticpope@g[ ]l.com ['mai' in gap]> on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @05:25PM (#47420109) Journal

    Being the largest climate controlled dome of its kind, perhaps the engineering "lessons learned" could be applicable to creating a self-sustaining space colony -- one of the chief challenges being climate control. ..or else, I've just been playing too much Kerbal Space Program and reading too much Heinlein;)

    • by roc97007 (608802)

      That's... actually a really good point. Let's hope the lessons are shared.

  • Hmm... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Shoten (260439) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @05:26PM (#47420119)

    I'm missing the part where something in Dubai is waiting to be a dystopia...

    • by mjwx (966435)

      I'm missing the part where something in Dubai is waiting to be a dystopia...

      What do you mean "waiting to be". For most of the Indian and Filipino "guest workers" it already is.

      • by phizi0n (1237812)

        I'm missing the part where something in Dubai is waiting to be a dystopia...

        What do you mean "waiting to be".

        For most of the Indian and Filipino "guest workers" it already is.

        That is kind of the point. The article is titled "Dubai's Climate-Controlled Dome City Is a Dystopia Waiting To Happen" and Shoten is saying that everything about Dubai already is one.

  • by BoRegardless (721219) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @05:30PM (#47420169)

    "macabre, consumer paradise" or monitored controlled populace?

  • by Alain Williams (2972) <addw@phcomp.co.uk> on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @05:43PM (#47420269) Homepage

    A big shopping center - sounds like hell on earth! I just can't understand the obsession with shopping, once you have your clothes & stuff just leave and do something interesting.

    • by idontgno (624372)

      What if looking at more clothes and stuff is interesting?

      Your complaint boils down to "What's wrong with these people? They're completely unlike ME!"

      Yeah, I'm not nuts about rampant consumerism, and shopping is not entertainment to me, but I acknowledge that I'm not typical.

  • Las Vegas with a dome over it? Meh... Sounds like a Stephen King novel.
  • by am 2k (217885) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @05:55PM (#47420365) Homepage

    That's what happened to Trantor [wikipedia.org] in Asimov's Foundation series:

    Trantor is depicted as the capital of the first Galactic Empire. Its land surface [...] was, with the exception of the Imperial Palace, entirely enclosed in artificial domes.

    And so it begins...

  • I too have seen Elysium. (OK i haven't. but this author is describing the plot.)
    Global warming is measured using terms like "degree" and "decade" (degree, as in singular)

    Dubai is ridiculously hot already. The Filipino and Indian laborers are already mistreated and underpaid. They already outnumber Emirati's by 3 to 1 (or more?). If they aren't rioting in the streets yet, a few measly degrees warmer in the coming decades won't do it either.

    If this retarded gimmick manages to stand up long enough for one

    • Global warming is measured using terms like "degree" and "decade" (degree, as in singular)

      You are missing the point, people won't burst into flames because of AGW. However the Arab spring was preceded by the worst drought in the the history of the fertile crescent (the birthplace of agriculture). People didn't suddenly log on to facebook and find out they were living under tyrants. There were food riots in Cairo and other major cities BEFORE the uprisings, almost 10% of Syria's total population just walked away from their farms and went looking for work in the cities.

      Go and find out why that

    • a few measly degrees warmer in the coming decades won't do it either

      man, you really don't understand climate change.

  • by ADRA (37398) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @06:27PM (#47420589)

    Dubai a city with a significantly challenging future and it has little to do with a dome. It's the center of little, its propelled by wildy deep pockets vs. social need, and wealth centers in the middle east are already distributing their investments to other regions. Forget the fact that once the oil's gone the wealth remaining in the region will leach away as there's so few people (though it'll take a very long time). UAE: 9mil, Yeman: 23mil, Oman: 4mil, Saudi Arabia: 30 mil. They have huge gulfs of weath distribution, and generally horrible climates. Why would people go to Dubai if it wasn't a spectacle or a huge weath gaining opportunity? My advice: Bilk Dubai for all its worth now, because in 50 years it'll be a distant memory of largesse gone awry by modern standards.

    • by Ol Olsoc (1175323)

      My advice: Bilk Dubai for all its worth now, because in 50 years it'll be a distant memory of largesse gone awry by modern standards.

      Interesting. Kind of like Mono Lake, just a zillion tines larger.

    • by mjwx (966435)
      Parts of the UAE, the Emirate of Dubai specifically are already out of oil.

      Hence the fact they're trying to diversify like mad, they're trying to become the financial centre of the region in the same way as New York or London.
      • A lot of people forget that the other great cities had their founding in geographical advantages that are no longer essential to their operation. The harbors around New York are still viable, but they are no longer the main focus of the city. It's the fact that a critical mass was established to foster social/cultural/economic centers which once established, became self-supporting. Festering, one might even say.

    • by TubeSteak (669689) on Thursday July 10, 2014 @12:27AM (#47422249) Journal

      Forget the fact that once the oil's gone the wealth remaining in the region will leach away as there's so few people (though it'll take a very long time).

      Dubai and the other Emirates are acutely aware of the limits to their oil reserves.
      They've been very busy turning their States into financial and trade hubs for the Arabian Peninsula,
      with plenty of free trade zones (no taxes on corporate income) in order to draw in international corporations.

      My advice: Bilk Dubai for all its worth now, because in 50 years it'll be a distant memory of largesse gone awry by modern standards.

      Your advice is wrong.
      Abu Dhabi is the 800 lb gorilla in the UAE and has the 2nd largest sovereign wealth fund in the world.
      As long as Dubai's royal family goes along with Abu Dhabi's Sheikh, Dubai can keep borrowing money until the end of time.
      /The last time Dubai needed cash, they had to reform some laws as a condition set by Abu Dhabi.

      • by coofercat (719737)

        The real problem is the people in Dubai don't like the Flintstones. Thankfully the people in Abu Dhabi do.

  • by Dripdry (1062282) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @06:49PM (#47420737) Journal

    I know someone who works on this kind of stuff.
    He works on theme parks, recently getting hired (within his company) to fix mistakes and problems with them, in Dubai and the surrounding area. His take is repeatedly that they don't know how to do quality-control there. Their projects SOUND amazing, but they skimp on the essentials and end up with disastrous results much of the time. He believes this is a mess waiting to happen, given the area's track record, but isn't involved in the project.

    • by macshit (157376)
      The other problem is that all this development seems like an insane urban-planning clusterf*ck... the rulers who are bankrolling it all want a glitzy showpiece to puff up their egos, and basically spend their lives traveling between high-end luxury malls, 60th floor corporate boardrooms, and enormous homes, in fleets of air-conditioned Mercedes SUVs. So they're designing a city optimized for those things. The result seems to be someplace that looks impressive in very long shots of the night-time skyline
  • A domed city with a shopping mall inside? How long til they implant the palm-flower and exterminate anyone over 30? Obligatory link for those who don't know Logan's Run: https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]
  • Given the size of the dome, I'd be interested to see if any micro weather systems happen inside, or what the plans are to mitigate environmental effects.

    Its not unheard of for weather to form in large open structures. Take for instance Hangar One at Moffett Airfield: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hangar_One_%28Mountain_View,_California%29) or the Goodyear Airdock (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Goodyear_Airdock) Though not climate controlled, these have fog (and apparently, rain) due to the massive size.

  • And how is this different from many other urban areas, it sounds exactly like any other mall. The fact that they're building it bigger and more centralized doesn't change the fact that there are many such climate controlled shopping centers in most other cities, more than a few located only a stones throw from the "bad side" of town where their poorly paid workforce lives.

  • It's easy to complain about how awful malls are until you have to walk around outside when it's 105F out, or when it's -5F with two feet of snow on the ground.

  • by istartedi (132515) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @09:05PM (#47421497) Journal

    The AC system expels hot air through a small thermal exhaust port, about 2m wide. In order to access it, we'll have to drive really fast down Main St.

  • by citizenr (871508) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @09:10PM (#47421513) Homepage

    or weed, or free speech. In fact you better hide those elbows and knees, or you can be stoned on the street. Did I mention proffered neck line is a turtle neck?
    If you are lucky police will be called instead of immediate stoning/being beaten with sticks. Official punishment for dress code violations is 1 month in the slammer.

    Dubai - perfect sausage fest vacation destination.

  • by iamacat (583406) on Wednesday July 09, 2014 @11:34PM (#47422083)

    Everyone will be free to visit - like Manhattan or San Francisco or countless other desirable places in the world. Most will not be able to afford to live there - again like all of these places. Cost of housing will probably subsidize construction that couldn't sustain itself just on visitors. By all signs, they are trying to keep out desert heat and not their own people. If I lived in this kind of climate, I would love a place to cool down for a couple of hours. I think people just feel jealous that we don't make this kind of projects in United States.

  • by RevWaldo (1186281) on Thursday July 10, 2014 @12:10AM (#47422205)
    A domed city isn't really that impressive when you compare it to what they could be building.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/C... [wikipedia.org]

    .

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