Dubai has always been famous for its magnificent projects which are mind-blowing, eye-catching and record-breaking. The city has the tallest building in the world and the world’s largest shopping mall. More fascinating are the manmade islands in the shape of palm trees. Last year, people with a jetpack flying next to a plane were observed in Dubai’s sky! A few years ago, the city introduced a project called “The World”—a 300-island chain laid out in the shape of the Earth’s continents.
The idea of The World was announced in 2003 when His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, governor of Dubai, unveiled his plans to build a sprawling archipelago that recreated the world map in the Persian Gulf. Plans for the project were discussed and investors started to pump money into its infrastructure. Unfortunately, it was delayed due to the financial crisis in 2008. But this holdup is coming to an end with the work already started on “The Heart of Europe”—an ambitious development that will be home to dozens of luxury resorts and lavish restaurants, surrounded by half-submerged, half sky lit floating homes called “floating seahorses.”
According to the development company, Kleindienst Group, more than 60 floating seahorses were sold in 2015, even before the first structure has touched down in the Persian Gulf. The Heart of Europe is a cluster of six islands that brings together the very best of European designs, heritage and hospitality in a truly breathtaking and unique setting. With a few seahorses being completed hope is much higher in finishing the full project by 2020 as part of The World. This will further encourage other investors and property developers to start and accelerate the work on the remaining islands of the World.
A project of the size and nature of The World must face great challenges, the first and most important of which is financial. However, other challenges are not less important. For one, The World is constantly losing its beaches. Kleindienst Group reported two years ago that 4–16 inches of sand recedes into the Persian Gulf every year due to normal erosion. Also, the only way to reach the islands from the shore is by boat or seaplane. While this may not be a problem for investors who own private islands, its cost may be a major obstacle for residents simply intending to make up a community on the islands