Dubai vs. Kuwait: 2020

September 11, 2009

The following is a short comparison story i wrote for Architectural Criticism class of 2008. I was instructed to write an essay criticizing the architectural boom happening in Dubai during the last decade. During the class, the professor called this movement ‘Dubaization’.

The story i wrote is Pro-Dubai, although i am not Pro-Dubaization, i am also not against the movement, i am simply an observer from afar. I believe the current happening in Dubai to be a form of architectural experiment on a large scale. The city’s planners are pushing the limits of the city and architects from all over the world are participating in an eclectic design of an enormous scale.

Follow the jump for the rest of the story:

Lets imagine what I believe could be one man’s day at work in Dubai and another man’s day at work in Kuwait 10 years into the future from now.

Dubai, he leaves his home at 7:30 in the morning to drop off his kids at school and then heads to work. They use the automated monorail system; it consists of a set of trams powered by a combination of sustainable solar technology and regenerative braking technology. The train bullets past the circles and squares, spheres and pyramids, pins and vases of the horizon at a speed of 300km/h covering 10kms in a mere 120 seconds. On the train, an Indian couple is having breakfast, a Japanese businessman is reading his newspaper and an Arab is talking on the phone, its calm and cool… seems peaceful and enjoyable. In almost no time at all he has dropped off his children to school and is on his way to work. Work starts at 8:00 O’clock and he has arrived with time to spare but starts his day instantly. Time = Money. He has a meeting scheduled during his lunch break at 12 and works significantly until then. His meeting goes well and noon comes, he had a sandwich and coffee and he heads back to work, makes a few phone calls and files a few papers, everything routine in his day. His workday ends at 3:00pm. He heads back home on the same train system. He arrives home to his loving family. His kids are already home because the train system is safe enough to be used by them alone. He takes his family out for dinner later on at night. It has been a fairly regular day in his life. We don’t need to imagine the rest of his days.

Kuwait, he leaves his home at 7:54am in the morning heading to work, don’t worry, the drivers are taking each kid to school. He takes road 40 heading towards his office in The Ministries Mall, the streets are jam-packed. Bumper to bumper, one Arab man to his right is eating a sandwich, another Arab man to his left reading a newspaper and all around him Indian drivers taking screaming jumping children to schools with female Asian caretakers on board. Traffic either slithers along at a constant speed of 0Km/h or fluctuates between 100km/h and 10km/h over a distance of 100m. After roughly 10 minutes he is met by the sight of an Asian driver who has got into an accident with a teenaged Arab female, both have left their cars, and look enraged. He arrives at work at 9:00am, half an hour late; his mates have already clocked him in and he passes by their offices for a quick chat. The television is on, they are watching the news. 9:30am he heads to his office. 9:45am, he is done with his breakfast and it is time for him to start working, he makes a phone call. 9:50am, he is done with his greetings, the man he is speaking to is his ‘Wasta’ for a promotion he believes he deserves. After roughly 1 hour of procrastination, he loses his focus and decides to head over the ‘Gahwa’ to calm down. Noon comes and he heads back to work, files a few papers and heads for the exit, he has to leave before the streets get busy or he will be late for lunch with his family. 1:15pm, the streets are busy with scrambling cars speeding to exit the heart of Kuwait City. Its 50ºc. 1:30pm, he is home and lunch is served. 2:00pm, He heads for his afternoon nap. Dusk comes and he heads to the ‘Dewaniya’, there he shall criticize his day… it was hectic, he is tired and life has become expensive for the honest worker, they then engage in a debate, they blame everything on the government and complain some more about their salaries. Sometime during the night his eventful and productive day ends.

“Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”JFK


5 Responses to “Dubai vs. Kuwait: 2020”

  1. swaleff said

    I liked this story when I was on the class
    It would be awesome if it was a short film story
    Thumbs up man. keep up the good work

  2. Musaed said

    now the million dollar question, why are we going backwards?

  3. Abdul-Ghaphor Hajjieh said

    why are we going backwards?

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