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Artificial Islands versus Natural Reefs: The Environmental Cost of Development in Dubai

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While coral communities world-wide are currently threatened by a wide variety of factors, Persian Gulf corals are especially fragile due to human-caused factor sranging from oil spills, industrial thermal and substance effluents and military actions, as well as harsh environmental factors such as high salinity, extreme water temperatures and tidal action. In the United Arab Emirates, Dubai’s renowned real-estate boom has especially compromised formerly protected coral communities with the construction and development of the largest artificial islands in the world.Environmental protests have helped call attention to the tragedy, but much more proactive protection is necessary to ensure the survival and health of these endangered coral reef habitats.

Keywords: Dubai; Persian Gulf; artificial island; coral reef; palm island; threatened habitats

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: August 17, 2012

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  • The International Journal of Islamic Architecture (IJIA) is intended for those interested in urban design and planning, architecture, and landscape design in the historic Islamic world, encompassing the Middle East and parts of Africa and Asia, but also the more recent geographies of Islam in its global dimensions. The main emphasis is on detailed analysis of the practical, historical and theoretical aspects of architecture, with a focus on both design and its reception. The journal is also specifically interested in contemporary architecture and urban design in relation to social and cultural history, geography, politics, aesthetics, technology, and conservation. Spanning across cultures and disciplines, IJIA seeks to analyze and explain issues related to the built environment throughout the regions covered. The cross-cultural and interdisciplinary nature of this journal will significantly contribute to the knowledge in this field.
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