Global Village

…my neighbor, or stranger…

In this 21st Century ‘Global Village’ known as Dubai, known as Abu Dhabi, who is the ‘man on the street’, who is your neighbor? …the same question every day, every person, every place…society of change–the unending reality of human matrix social mobility. That is life in these Gulf Region cities.

Global Village: There are so many contract expatriate employees here from so many different countries–each group builds its own microcosmic sub-group, based on geography, income, work type, family situation. Most are temporarily here but often for extended periods–four and five year minimums for many–result is a rich street culture–look for it, you will find it. Exciting it is. Uncertain it is.


The 23 Club

Immersed in the contemporary culture of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, against the backdrop of the Empty Quarter, The 23 Club tells the inside story of how an iconic project gets built in the oil rich, Gulf region of the Arabian Peninsula.

Table of Contents

  • Desertification
  • It’s 2AM
  • Spike Lounge
  • The Walk

               JBR Dubai, a Global Village

All these large projects, like Liwa Qsar, are built traditionally in a fog of evolving problems and conflicts wherein final solutions are ultimately discovered, not in advance in the carpeted offices, but in real time, on the sweaty, noisy construction site. Within this understanding of the project process, Chalmers went to visit the Landscape Consultant, Land Iterations and Derivatives–everybody knew them by their short name, LandID. LandID were an American landscape architecture company. Geoffrey Tate, a Brit, was their UAE and Mid East Regional Director.

On the Liwa Qsar Project, LandID were the responsible consultant for all the site finishes, the usual landscape architecture stuff–plants, irrigation, paving, walls, pergolas, water features, plus oversight on wayfinding, signage, lighting, grading, drainage–the usual landscape architecture stuff.

Geoffrey Tate and Chalmers were to meet at Jumeirah Beach Residence, JBR, in New Dubai, on The Walk, at the Cafe di Roma. Chalmers arrived early again. He sat down at the cafe, checked his iPhone for connectivity, and opened an iChat session with Madge. He was intent to bring health back to their bruised emotional connections. She didn’t respond.

Chalmers ordered a Turin hot chocolate. It was a warm chocolate pudding; he liked it, winter or summer. It was 9PM, just getting dark, the temperature was 35°C with just a hint of cooling, light breezes off the Gulf. The evening crowd, the paseo, were just building.

In New Dubai, The Walk was a linear pedestrian promenade, almost thirty meters wide, stretching along four, maybe five city blocks. Along the inside edge, it consisted of narrow frontage fashion shop hang outs, cafes, restaurants, cheek by jowl. That half of the promenade was given over to umbrella’d tables. The remainder of the promenade was a palm tree lined paseo show place. At the curbed outer edge was a one lane, one way, traffic calmed road–talk about show and tell–the hottest cars in Dubai crawled it–every night. And beyond the crawl, the sand beaches of Jumeirah and the Gulf. It was all about see and be seen.

The Walk generated a vibrant, real-life, cultural mix–a front-page social tabloid, if you will, including a good sprinkling of Emiratis, loads of Middle East Arabs (the Egyptians, the Lebanese), some Magrebis (the North Africans), some sub-Saharan Africans, lots of Eastern and Western Europeans, and people from the old British Commonwealth…the South Africans, the Australians, the New Zealanders…some Bollywood sub-continentals, and a few North American expatriates, with their rambunctious pet dogs, barely kept on leashes. The Walk had become a real-time mingling of Western pop culture with regional and local traditions…perhaps exemplifying the promise, the buzz of a ‘peaceful’, multi-cultural future, Dubai-style.

  • Rub Al Khali Coastal
  • Rub Al Khali Inland
  • Liwa Qsar
  • The Nursery
  • Finding Majlis
  • Library Majlis
  • Villa Majlis
  • Long and Short
  • Pilgrimage
  • Wanderweg
  • Appendix 1:  Berner Oberland Back Story
  • Author’s Notes
  • Plant List
  • Colophon


(to be continued)

© 2015 Edward Flaherty

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