Atlas of Improbable Places by Travis Elborough

Atlas of Improbable Places by Travis Elborough

Author:Travis Elborough
Language: eng
Format: epub
Publisher: MBI
Published: 2016-07-21T16:00:00+00:00

FLOATING WORLDS

THE PALM

AN ARTIFICIAL ISLAND PARADISE

DUBAI [UNITED ARAB EMIRATES]

25° 0' 21"N

54° 59' 21"E

Think of a desert island and as often as not a palm tree will spring to mind. Some lone piece of foliage, say, offering shade to a shipwrecked Robinson Crusoe in rags, or for holidaymakers in a suitably exotic locale to sit under as they sip fruit-heavy chilled drinks and gaze out over golden sands and a blue sea. Paradise incarnate. Earthly bliss. Just imagine then, what a wonder a desert island shaped exactly like a palm tree would be like. Paradise squared? Earthly bliss twice as nice? Well, such an ingenious confection does exist just off the coast of Dubai. The idea, or so the story goes, first came to the ruling Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum after he drew a sketch of a leaf and realized that finger-like fronds would provide more beach fronts than simple rounded islands. Constructed entirely from 94 million cubic feet of reclaimed sand, Palm Jumeirah, the first of three luxury manmade island resorts initially proposed, is four times the size of London’s Hyde Park. Marketed as the ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’, the Palm adds some 40 miles to Dubai’s coastline, can be seen from space and is made up of seventeen ‘fronds’ each over a mile in length, fanning out from a central trunk that houses an eight-lane motorway. The palm tree is then topped off with an encircling crescent that also acts as a giant breakwater.

The football star turned global icon David Beckham is widely cited as an early owner of property on Palm Jumeirah, amongst other high-profile celebrities. The financial crash of 2008 and other difficulties, nevertheless, plagued the construction of two further neighbouring islands, Palm Sheikh Ali and Palm Deira.



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