Occasionally dubbed the eighth wonder of the world, Dubai’s Palm Islands are certainly a wonder to behold. Situated around the emirate’s coastline at Jumeirah, Jebel Ali and Deira, the clusters are the world’s largest man-made island collection and are also referred to as Dubai Palm and The Palm Dubai. The Palms at Jumeirah and Jebel Ali are both in an advanced state of construction whilst Palm Deira is also progressing well.
Dubai’s Palm Islands are formed of a ten meter deep seabed covered with rock and sand dredged from the waters around the UAE – the Arabian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman. Supervised by dredging firms Jan De Nul and Van Oord, Belgian and Dutch respectively, dredging ships scatter the sand over the area designated as the Dubai Palm by a Differential Global Positioning System (DGPS). This process is termed ‘rain-bowing’ in reference to the arc shape of the sand as it falls. In addition, each Palm benefits from a breakwater around its periphery which keeps out the dirty seawater. Pontoons and split hopper barges lay down layers upon layers of rock in order to construct the breakwaters; a whopping huge number off tons of rock was required just to create the breakwater of the Jumeirah Palm.
As can be inferred by the name, Dubai’s Palm Islands have been constructed to resemble date palm trees, a common specimen to be seen in the UAE, with fronds, a crown and a trunk. They are surrounded by a further crescent shape of island which serves as the breakwater to each Dubai Palm.
Once the Deira palm ( the last palm) is completed, Dubai’s Palm Islands will have added an additional 520 km to Dubai’s already notable coastline. The extra space is being put to good use and is fulfilling Dubai Government dream of a prosperous Dubai enjoying all the benefits of free trade and tourism. Luxury hotels, villas, beachside apartments and shopping malls abound alongside water parks, health spas and countless other amenities willing to cater to your every need. Nakheel Properties, a UAE based company, are the property developers spearheading these exciting and ground breaking developments.
Construction on the Palm Jebel Ali had work starting in 2002 and finishing in 2006. Its vital measurements include a 4km long peninsula with a breakwater measuring 17km long and 200m wide. The total amount of rock, sand and limestone that needed to be dredged as part of the construction was a staggering 135 million cubic meters in addition to another 5 million cubic meters of extra rock to reinforce the slope. It is expected to hold 1.7 million residents by the year 2020.
The Palm Jumeirah is smaller than the Palm Jebel Ali at just 25 square km but still houses an impressive 4,000 residences for its population, who moved in towards completion at the end of the year 2006. The Palm Jumeirah was the first Palm to be constructed with dredging starting back in 2001 so the development took a significant 5 years from start to completion. The so-called ‘crown’ of Palm Jumeirah sports 17 date palm fronds and benefits from 11 km of breakwater – 6km less than its Palm Jebel Ali neighbor. In total the Palm Jumeirah’s fronds and breakwater adds an impressive 78 km to Dubai’s coastline on the Arabian Gulf.
The final Palm is Palm Deira; designed to be far larger than its two counterparts, Palm Deira will be due or completion in next few months after several phases of construction. Multiple phases are necessary due to the sheer size of the development. It will be exciting to see what brands and developments are eager to have a spot on Palm Deira and what impact the huge new Dubai Palm will have on Dubai’s tourism industry.
Dubai’s Palm Islands are breath-taking in their sophisticated design and expansive size. The plethora of entertainment, retail and residential venues that are due to populate the islands will ensure that the Dubai Palms become a hub for affluent tourists and will provide a substantial supplement to the emirate’s income.