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Urbanization In The UAE: Causes And Impacts

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The transformation of Dubai, United Arab Emirates from an inadequate desert to an urbanized city that stands before our eyes today, cost the blood and tears of the government and the hardworking laborers that helped turn this dream into reality. The UAE is located along the Persian Arabian Gulf, it has the largest net migration rate which is at 12.36, the GDP was 382.575 billion in 2017, the growth rate of the GDP is 2.82% and finally the rate of urbanization is 2.32%. In the past the UAE has obtained al lot of urbanization projects that have paid off today with the economic and social status that it has today. Dubai has urbanized abnormally at fastest rate consisting in only the span of 40 years, this report will be containing the information of how the transformation took place and how it caused urban stresses and also how they can be resolved.


This is a satellite image from 1973, during this period the oil boom occurred which encouraged rapid economic growth. The urbanization here is barely visible, although it will be seen in the following images.This image is from 1990, during this period the ports were already constructed and Emirates Airlines was also founded, urbanization had taken off on a slow pace. In 2006, the palm Islands are visible which means that the UAE had started undertaking projects to urbanization further, the infrastructure has improved. During this era a lot of projects may have been occurring along the coast such as water activities and beach residential etc, which would have been promoting tourism therefore benefiting the economy.In 1975 the total population was 183,000 inhabitants in 2015 it was more than 2 million, this happened due to the strategies that were put in place. In 1975, the Dubai municipality was introduced, their first master plan was formed which resulted in the production of a road system, town centre as well as modern buildings made of concrete blocks. In fact the total built up area increased from 54 square kilometers in 1975, to 977 kilometers in 2015.Looking above at the natural increase of the country, it has been noticed that the rate has been dropping constantly, usually the progression of the natural increase is the main factor of population growth in many countries, although in Dubai’s case it is completely different. Since the health care of Dubai has developed so much, the death rate has decrease to 1 in thousand. Furthermore, 91% of the population included foreign workers who are usually single or have left their family back home, this is why the birth rate is relativity low.


The constant increase of population and the lack of deaths is causing Dubai to become very overcrowded. Overcrowding is caused due to lack of houses in a community considering the people wanting to live in an area leading to a cramped environment. This results in the transmission of diseases and unkept hygiene later on leading to a substandard quality of life. 'A number of crimes committed by bachelors staying in residential neighborhoods including prostitution activities, assaults, theft, real estate fraud and residence law violations have been reported to the Public Prosecution.” (Ibrahim Al Hosni, 2018)

Landlords are cramping up bachelors in a building where families are living causing crime to take place. This shows that the housing is very deficient in Satwa and Karama when it comes to the poor families, however families living at the Palm or JLT (Jumeirah Lake Towers) would never face the same consequences. A plausible solution would be having more houses in an area or community and not allowing bachelors in family homes to maintain safety and avoid the outbreak of crime.

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Overcrowding is causing traffic congestion as people have to travel to there work place which means that there would be a higher number of vehicles found on the road leading to more greenhouse gas emissions (air pollution) and noise pollution. The reason why Sheikh Zayed road (highway) is so crowded is because it is located where or is leading to where the central business districts are located. Some solutions to congestion would be constructing wider roads and more highway lanes, more tunnels, overhead bridges and parking spots. Some solutions to noise pollution would be living in less crowded areas and installing double glazed windows.


Overcrowding is also leading to a more intense strain on resources as oil at which the whole country is dependent on will soon come to an end, however now, it is used as if there is no tomorrow. The UAE is trying to stop the oil from being used so carelessly by inventing electric vehicles that will run on electricity and they will certainly not contribute to the greenhouse gas emissions. The constant use of fossil fuels is a lot of waste as they are non-renewable resources and electricity is a renewable resource, instead of using fossil fuel that impact the environment harshly, it is better to use electricity.


Of course, due to urbanization the demographic structure of Dubai has completely changed, although there is inequality present here. The Dubai frame that was opened in 2018, shows a clear view of old Dubai and new Dubai, it shows how people living new Dubai are living a much more advanced and safe lifestyle as compared to old Dubai. The jobs owned in old Dubai may not pay fairly like new Dubai and it may be hard for parents to provide for their family with what they get. The GDP has improved a lot due to the high demands of goods and tourism it has caused a lot of economic benefit in Dubai and more facilities such as schools, universities etc are introduced.


It has been predicted that by 2020, urbanization will grow to 7.9 million by the United Nations and it is very essential for Dubai to maintain it’s environment which is affected very severely at this stage. The sustainable development goals include reducing inequalities between women and society, reduce the use of fossil fuel and etc to decrease the impacts of climate change, as well as protecting the sea life that have been destroyed due to the Palm projects which involved the disturbing the natural habitat of the corals. In 2020 the population will reach 2.8 million, which means that there would be higher chances of congestion and overcrowding which would lead to other urban stresses. Dubai needs to step up it’s game before it turns into a city with the highest urban stress rate.

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Urbanization In The UAE: Causes And Impacts. (2021, September 23). Edubirdie. Retrieved March 1, 2024, from
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