What will the United Arab Emirates look like in 30 thirty years? Dubai’s current affairs commentator Mishaal Al-Gergawi provides semi-fictional foresight.
Al-Manakh is a publication focused on examining new urban developments in the Gulf region. Recently, they published an article calling attention to how the sister cities Abu Dhabi (AUH) and Dubai (DXB) are destined to develop their partnership.
Mishaal Al-Gergawi, the author, provides profound insight into the future of the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The article is basically a story that looks into the future; it contains insights articulating how the two cities will come together:
1) Proximity: While most global cities are far from their sister cities (i.e. Beijing-Shanghai, New York-Los Angeles, Frankfurt-Berlin), only 120 kilometers (75 miles) separate AUH and DXB. As their outer-regions expand, this distance will grow smaller and smaller.
2) Economic Synthesis: The article envisions that as the Gulf becomes less reliant on oil exports, AUH and DXB will lead in the mutual struggle for economic stability. Dubai’s old guard disappear as they pay their debt to the government from the recession; AUH faces complications with Virgin Galactic and AMD. It calls for more conservative investments and holistic initiatives that uphold collaboration over duplication. This will allow for more efficient allocation of resources and solidifying the strategic role of each emirate. For example, AUH’s Airport would be turned into a central station for the GCC Railway System and a bullet train connects the station to DXB Airport.
4) Homegrown: The importance of developing a mature workforce is brought up at a couple of points. The article describes conservative Emirati consultants that replace expats to find a strategic solution that enables the two cities to work together. It also marks a homegrown art movement in Dubai and the emergence of the first green start-up in 2025. This is partially due to the immense success of AUH’s experiment with cultural institutions such as the Sorbonne, Louvre, New York University and Guggenheim.
5) Official VS. Cultural: The article closes by pointing out that while the two cities will never merge officially (since they’re different municipal governments) the public will come to refer to this robust urban entity as Abu Dubai.