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Study of Dubai as a Metropolis

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  1. Introduction
  2. A city design for the (upper) global class
    1. A political decision: the enlightened sheikdom
    2. Dubai new economy
    3. Geopolitical role
  3. Support by an army of immigrants workers
    1. An imported workforce
    2. A risk for stability?
  4. Conclusion

With its dazzling development, Dubai has become in a few years the center of attention for analysts and scientists. Its population grew from 58,971 in 1968 when the city organized the first census, to 370,800 20 years later, and finally to 2.2 million now . The city is also specialized in accumulating Guinness Records and for its extravagant architectural forms. In 2010 was built the Burj Khalifa (Khalifa tower), the tallest building in the world more than 800 m. But we can see the city branding through other achievements like those artificial islands, imitating the form of a palm or of the world.

We can find a large variety of analyses about Dubai, from Friedman saying "Dubai is where we should want the Arab world to go" as an example of progress through, to Mike Davis telling us that Dubai is no model at all. It's more like an horror show, and extravagant form of hyper-capitalism. In Dubai ?all the arduous stages of commercial evolution as being telescoped or short-circuited to embrace the perfect synthesis of shopping, entertainment and architectural spectacle, on the most pharaonic scale.?

[...] These take such an extended that the CEO of industry said never going to the Middle East, but I always enjoying a few days at Dubai"[7] Dubai has a long tradition of commercial development. Since the first Iranian wave of immigration in 1902, Dubai has become a key place for import export. The Emirate concentrates the most important community of Indian merchants after Oman, which certain families, holding hundreds of millions of dollars.[8] More recently, a lot of businessmen from Ukraine, Uzbekistan, Mali, or Afghanistan came to stock up, and then to selling the merchandise to West Africa of former-URSS. [...]


[...] Dubai doesn't even recognize them as immigrant workers, since that will mean that they have a permanent contract. They are considered as temporary workers, and they should come back to their country when their contract is done. Of course, in fact, mostly remains in the long term, and eventually become illegal. It appears to be more a way of controlling those populations for Dubai. A lot of organizations, like the WTC, the ILO or Human Right watch, denounce this situation: wages systematically retained the first months, as a caution to prevent workers from changing of employer, no payback for expenses realized for professional purposes, like travels or visa. [...]


[...] Moreover, companies have not the obligation to sell a minimum of 51% of their shares to a Emirate citizen.[10] The city creates specialized free zone, where businesses are concentrated by sectors. For example, the Internet is filtered in Dubai, to respect certain Islamic norms, but the City creates ?Dubai Internet City? where access to the Internet is not delivered through national proxies and not restricted. On the same principle, Dubai Media City is created with the appropriate infrastructure and legislation to attract regional and worldwide media. [...]

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