Palm Jumeirah is most likely one of the most innovative urban planning project since Venice! The reclamation of this man-made project started in 2001, and first residents moved into their homes only five years later. The Palm reaches about 5km into the sea and stretches about the same dimension in width. Its breakwater is approximately 17km long and a zone of hospitality resorts. The fronds of the palm are reserved for individual villas, and the stem is predominately developed with residential, multi-storey buildings.
So why I think the Palm is an innovative project? Dubai’s natural coastline is about 70km; more than doubled it by adding 78km. Considering the scarcity of beach-front real estate and the related premium paid for such plots, the Palm was a masterpiece in particular in an economy that has been thriving on real estate.
To create beach-front property is not unique – there are many such projects in Florida. But it usually happened by dredging the water corridors. Historically, there are two typologies of water cities: one that dredges water canals into the land, like Amsterdam and St. Petersburg, and there is Venice, that reclaimed land in the water – which is what we also see here.
To create an iconographic shape certainly added to the project. Iconographic projects have the advantage that an idea is reduced to a visual stereotype that then again can be filled with individual memories. Thus, Palm Jumeirah can be seen in line of Dubai’s real-estate projects that have been cleverly used for marketing purpose.