Watching old promotional videos for Dubai’s The World may cause you to despair.
The “most innovative development on Earth” imagined a super luxury community on man-made islands shaped like the world. Each island would be a billionaire’s customisable plaything, ranging from a European castle surrounded by forest to an African game reserve modelled after the Serengeti.
Soon after the islands were dredged, however, disaster struck. The world fell into recession and Dubai crashed harder than most. Dubai World, the parent company of The World developer Nakheel, delayed payment on a $59 billion loan and was bailed out by Abu Dhabi.
Today the development is on hold while Nakheel considers more cautious investments, according to the WSJ. A few islands have sold, but none were developed except for one show home.
It has been reported by The Daily Mail and others that the undeveloped islands are vulnerable to erosion and may be melting into the sea.
We’ve pulled some highlights from promotional videos.
But then the world fell into recession... and Dubai World (then the parent company of Nakheel) delayed payment on a $59 billion debt, leading to government takeover. Real estate prices plunged across Dubai.
Nine years after The World was announced, only one of the islands—a show home—has been developed. Further development is on hold.
There have been reports that lacking development the islands are vulnerable to erosion, and have already started melting away.
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