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The Growing Pains Of Dubai: A City In Search Of Its Identity

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Chapter Summary

This effort to articulate a more indigenous cultural identity is visible throughout the urban environment of Dubai. It is evident in the passing of new laws concerning urban development and historic preservation. Buildings deemed historic in Dubai have either been preserved or recreated. Traditional architectural elements have been manipulated and incorporated in new technologically advanced forms and façades. All these attempts serve to solidify an increasingly fragile cultural identity in an urban environment most intently geared towards the global economy. In all cases, these architectural signifiers attempt to allude to a local Bedouin culture or a regional Islamic identity. The leaders of Dubai wanted a global symbol; a building that announced their increasing role and influence on the world's stage. However, the Burj Al Arab does not seem to say much of substance beyond the highly engineered surface.

Keywords: Buildings; Burj Al Arab; global economy; identity

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