By Beckett Mufson — Jul 8 2014
If anywhere in the world could use a bit of A/C, it’s definitely the desert-bound city of Dubai. Today it reached a high of 108?F–but Monday will top that by over ten degrees, according to The Weather Channel. We’re sweating just thinking about it. According to an announcement from Sheik Mohammad Bin Rashad, the city’s constitutional monarch, Dubai has a plan to let incoming tourists beat the heat for good: constructing the largest temperature-controlled city on the planet. Boldly entitled, The Mall of the World, the development plan will include over 20,000 hotel rooms, an indoor theme park, a hospital, theater district, and the largest shopping center in the world. A giant retractable glass dome will cover the Mall’s 48 million sqare foot chunk of Dubai, protecting visitors from the aforementioned 118? summer heat. This is almost like the Internet of Things applied to a sprawling metropolitan hub.
The Mall’s design takes inspiration from all over the world. One shop-lined street dubbed “The Celebration Walk” is similar to La Rambla in Barcelona, while another is based on the Oxford Street shops in London. It’s theater district looks eerily similar to Broadway in NYC.
These attractions are designed to host 180 million visitors per year–an ambitious plan. The Sheik is confident, however, in his city’s ability to sell, commenting, “The growth in family and retail tourism underpins the need to enhance Dubai’s tourism infrastructure as soon as possible. This project complements our plans to transform Dubai into a cultural, tourist and economic hub for the two billion people living in the region around us; and we are determined to achieve our vision.”
With Barcelona, London, and New York all bundled up into one, temperature-controlled desert oasis, The Mall of the World may have a lot to offer–but they’ll have to be careful not to make the same mistakes China has made with its Manhattan replica. Time will tell if Dubai if this tourism powerplay will be a success–but at least it’ll have A/C.