The rate at which science fiction is becoming science fact is starting to get a little spooky.
Leaders of the wealthy Persian Gulf emirate of Dubai announced this week that they will soon start construction of the planet’s first domed city. The concept of a fully enclosed, climate-controlled city — sometimes called an arcology — has been a recurring theme in science fiction for more than 100 years.
As to the specifics: The proposed city would not be covered with a single dome, but rather a series of domed transparent enclosures covering a street network of more than 4.3 miles. Large “outdoor” public spaces would get their own circular domes, in the traditional sense. Dubbed the “Mall of the World,” the metropolis would be city-sized in scope, but decidedly retail in spirit. including an 8-million-square-foot shopping mall and what’s being billed as the world’s largest indoor theme park.
In all, the project would result in a superstructure covering more than 48-million square feet, with 100-plus hotels, retail spaces, cultural venues, a theater district and upscale medical facilities. All areas would be fully climate-controlled, indoors and “out.”
How do the planners intend to air-condition an entire city? According to Ahmad Bin Byat, CEO of Dubai Holding: “The project will follow the green and environmentally friendly guidelines of the Smart Dubai model. It will be built using state-of-the-art technology to reduce energy consumption and carbon footprint, ensuring high levels of environmental sustainability and operational efficiency.”
Well, we’ll see. But if any one state can pull off a project of this magnitude, it’s Dubai, which for a decade now has been the center of an unprecedented boom in massive construction projects and progressive architecture in the region. Dubai is already home to the tallest man-made structure in the world — the 2,722-foot skyscraper Burj Khalifa.
No word yet on whether the Mall of the World will feature a proportionally scaled Cinnabon of the World. All we can do is keep our fingers crossed.
Credit: Dubai Holding