I have been in Dubai 48 hours now and have really enjoyed learning about working here. It’s a steep learning curve, though, as the sheer number and scale of the construction programmes currently under way is way beyond anything I’ve ever seen. Dubai has numerous developments that, on their own, are each already way bigger than London’s Canary Wharf and yet are being built in a fraction of the time. Some of the buildings themselves are simply breathtaking. The Burj Dubai tower, in particular, dominates the skyline and is one of the features I use to keep myself oriented as I travel around.
It’s not just buildings, of course. To meet the needs of the growing population that will live, work and shop in these new buildings, new infrastructure is also being constructed at a furious pace. Viaducts and stations for the new Dubai metro now stretch alongside the main thoroughfare, Sheikh Zayed Road, for example.
The intensity of some construction activity is also very different to most of UK experience. I am staying in a BIW apartment close to the existing Dubai World Trade Centre, and construction of an immense new Centre alongside is going on round-the-clock – I hear the clatter of drills as I go to sleep and wake to the gentle tweeting of moving heavy plant (no Considerate Contructors Scheme here)!
Speaking of tweets, I’ve been using Twitter to post occasional updates and to get news from my favourite Twitterati, including construction news from Contract Journal and the Building Twitter feed which I discovered just before I travelled to Dubai (but not NCEmagazine of course!). I’ve also used Twitpic to post a couple of photos (useful as in Dubai I can’t share them via Flickr), and then reused these in my first Dubai post. Given that I haven’t had time to read a newspaper or watch television, my RSS feeds have been great for keeping in touch with key developments back in the UK and more locally (eg: today’s FT story: Major Dubai developer cuts 200 jobs (also reported by Building here)- shows that even the UAE is not immune from the worsening global market). And there’s lots of free wifi access – I watched people in a shopping mall earlier this evening going online while munching their McDonald’s.
Update (18 November 2008): Just checked the NCEmagazine Twitter feed. It stopped updating on 20 October, three days after the last tweet from @CNPlus. Have Emap given up on Twitter?