Dutch Docklands to the rescue for Dubai's World project?


November 22, 2011

Architectural firm Dutch Docklands has developed, designed and engineered a master plan for 89 floating islands planned for the Middle East (image: Dutch Docklands)

Architectural firm Dutch Docklands has developed, designed and engineered a master plan for 89 floating islands planned for the Middle East (image: Dutch Docklands)

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The troubled World Project in Dubai, which has been riddled with problems since the global financial crisis in 2009 including rumors that the islands are sinking, may have found salvation. Architectural firm Dutch Docklands has developed, designed and engineered a master plan for 89 floating islands, giving current World investors the opportunity to purchase a floating paradise. The solution would provide investors with an option that's more feasible and cost-effective than building on the existing land masses, whilst also incorporating several environmental benefits.

"Floating islands are environmentally friendly and leave a zero footprint after its lifespan, and opens opportunities where there is a scarcity of land," Jasper Mulder, General Manager of Dutch Docklands Maldives told Gizmag. "They are the answer to urban limitations and climate change. It secures a safe and sustainable future where conventional building methods fail."

The 89 floating islands proposed for the Middle East includes residential and commercial floating developments with a total surface area of 220,000 square meters (almost 2.4 million sq.ft). Dutch Docklands founders Paul Van de Camp and Koen Olthuis have developed technologies for developing floating constructions beyond the waterfront. "In Holland we have hundreds of years of experience of water management, many centuries of innovation to protect us from the water," explained Mulder. "The vision of Dutch Docklands is to use this know-how in an offensive way by living with the water by way of floating developments. This new approach has automatically led to the first floating developments mainly built in the Netherlands."

Dutch Docklands' floating islands may be the preference for many World investors, as "serious talks are being held as we speak" said Mulder. However, the forward-thinking Dutch architects also have plans for the Maldives. A joint venture with the government of the Maldives has led to an ambitious master plan for more than 800 hectares (80 million sq.ft) of water, with floating construction currently in development.

The project hopes to see the completion of four individual ring-shaped floating islands, each with 72 water-villas; 43 floating private islands in an archipelago configuration; the world's first floating 18-hole golf course; and, an 800-room floating hotel. Furthermore, the floating islands will be interconnected by underwater tunnels, and the golf course will feature an underwater clubhouse adjoining two luxury hotels.

The reality of floating islands could start to shape future urban landscapes, with further scope for agriculture, offices, housing and leisure. "This will lead to new economic opportunities where governments can cost-effectively lease islands with flexible solutions instead of investing in static developments," concludes Mulder. It would also seem that Dutch Docklands could be the perfect candidates for Paypal founder Peter Thiel's floating city challenge we covered a few months back!

Source: Emirates 24/7

About the Author
Bridget Borgobello Bridget is an experienced freelance writer, presenter and performer with a keen eye for innovative design and a passion for green technology. Australian born, Bridget currently resides in Rome and when not scribbling for Gizmag, she spends her time developing new web series content and independent cinema. All articles by Bridget Borgobello

It\'s cool but I\'m a little confused why this is such a great idea. I lived on a boat for years and it sucks being completely hemmed in. With vast deserts all around Dubai, I don\'t get why this is better. Holland has the highest population density in Europe so I can see it working for them.

The tipoff that the concept is struggling is when the marketers slip in some greenwashing, like \"...the answer to urban limitations and climate change. It secures a safe and sustainable future where conventional building methods fail.\"

An utterly vague and unsupported statement peppered with politically-correct terms like \'sustainable future\' and \'urban limitations\' that work on teenagers only. And only when you\'re really desperate do you bring up \'climate change\' while hoping that nobody notices that it\'s no longer 2006.

Todd Dunning

I like floating islands, but if I am going to be in shallow water I want to be firmly anchored to the bottom in case of storms.


I second Slowburn\'s thought.

These ideas might be fine for lakes, enclosed harbors and back bays, but I think it\'s a disaster waiting to happen in the open oceans with storms, hurricanes--or typhoons and tsunamis.


the reason senseless projects like this make me sad is because with all the surplus funds that the emirati possess, they do not have the intelligence or wisdom to choose the proper innovators to invest their funds with.

they get snookered with nonsense like this when so many other worthwhile projects are out there.

if you know the emirates, you know they are facing an environmental disaster. they burn oil for electricity , truck in their water, and import their entire slave labor force. the emirates are a disaster waiting to happen. silly nonsense spending on projects like this show you just how totally out of touch with reality the ultra wealthy princes are from the actual real life challenges faced by the societies under-neath them.

with all their money, they have only copied the worst of what western innovation has to offer while investing much of their wealth in excess , ostentation, and sheer nonsense like these projects and other landfill 'island' construction that is doomed to fall into the sea.

why not invest in sustainable water management. solar-thermal energy ---of which they have more sun and heat than anyone, and advanced sand based material construction--learning how to cultivate one of their most plentiful resources; sand. the reason: too much wealth and too little common sense.


Again with the climate change, specifically as supposedly caused by human activity. A new batch of e-mails has been released by the still unknown whistleblower at the University of East Anglia who released a large number of e-mails, documents and computer program code in 2009.

If you thought the 2009 release was bad for the \"Hockey Team\", the current release is even worse for them.

It also includes a password protected 7zip file containing thousands more e-mails. People around the world are working on cracking the password.

Gregg Eshelman

At Todd\'s comment I guess its a good idea cause it means instead of spending all that time dredging the sea bed and building islands that cost hundreds of thousand of dollars with absolutely nothing on them this is probably cheaper. I can\'t remember what the outer islands of the world are like but if its like the palm islands the inner islands are protected from the worst of any storms by a sea wall. I wonder if this goes ahead how much movement there will be or how noticeable it will be when your on one. Maybe people who choose to live on one will have yachts so not be that bothered.

I agree with Zevulon about investing in these islands. I appreciate totally the spectacle of them but Dubai should definitely look at in vesting in sustainable technology. Masdar city is a nice example of the Middle east trying to do something that we in the west aren\'t. Maybe it won\'t work but kudos to Abu Dhabi for seeing the current way of creating energy isn\'t sustainable and investing into a city that tries to be zero carbon.

Wesley Baker

Neat Idea but too late...Dubai has spent itself into too deep a hole ...So deep it may never climb out...

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