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Asanga Seneviratne

on 7 August 2013

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Transcript of Dubai

By Asanga Seneviratne
Dubai is a Middle Eastern city located directly 225 km south of Iran, directly 420 km west of Qatar, directly 267 km north of Oman and directly 1,212 km east of India.
Geographic Features That Influenced Dubai's Development
Geographical Preface
Historical Timeline
Dubai's Change In Appearance Over Time
Dubai was relatively stagnant in terms of infrastructure development until the past 30 years in which the region has undergone a rapidly process of urbanisation due to the recent focus on tourism
The city's architecture was heavily influenced by Islam, Turkey and the Persian empire in ancient times with many mosques bearing Islamic architecture still in place after thousands of years
In modern times however architecture within the city has moved into a significantly more western style with the advents of high rise buildings, sprawling motorways, luxury hotels etc.
How Dubai's Culture Has Been Affected By Geography
Dubai's deep and intricate Islamic culture has been largely derived form its proximity to other Islamic nations in the gulf region which have allowed the religion to flow onto Dubai
Dubai's economy is also based heavily on its trading operations (both sea and air) which thrive off its unique central location that connects east and west
Architecture has been influenced by neighbouring countries and regions such as Turkey and the Persian empire in ancient times
The increasingly multicultural population within Dubai has also been a direct result of the city's proximity to countries such as India and Bangladesh from where many citizens have immigrated from
Dubai's climate has also influenced traditional dress with garments designed to suit the hot and arid weather
Dubai's traditional sporting culture has also been effected by its desert surrounds with the sport of falconing remaining popular among residents
Dubai along with five other emirates including Abu Dhabi formed the United Arab Emirates on the 2nd of December 1971 but Qatar and Bahrain decided to remain independent nations
The UAE adopted a uniform currency, the dirham, that greatly benefited the town's economic growth and trade expansion
In 1970, the city saw an influx of immigrants from those fleeing the Lebanese civil war
The Gulf War in 1990 had negative financial effect on the city as traders and investors left the region
In the early 20th century the city shifted its focus to tourism, in preparation for the imminent exhaustion of oil reserves, with the creation of Emirates airline.
The city also stages major sporting events such as the Dubai Desert Classic, Dubai Open and Dubai World cup (the world's richest horse race) and major tourist attraction such as the Dubai Mall, Ski Dubai, Burj Khalifa, Burj, Palm Islands and Burj Al Arab
No natural disasters have been recorded to have occurred in Dubai with the city's location away from fault lines reducing the risk of earthquakes and the low depths of the neighboring Persian gulf waters significantly reducing the chance of a tsunami

The high density of desert sands and sand dunes in the Dubai region hampered initial growth as settlers found agricultural practices extremely difficult with the lack of fertile or nutrient rich soils
This is a key reason as to why Dubai was settled within and established so late in comparison to other large modern cities
The lack of solidity within the desert sands of Dubai also hindered the city's growth with construction costs for new infrastructure such as residential housing and commercial buildings being significantly higher than other major metropolitan cities
High volume and wide expanses of desert sands (white and fine sands) near coastline and center of the region
High density of sand (dark and reddish in colour) dunes in east of region
Flat coastline
Dubai is a formal region as Dubai is the city's official name and is recognised by governments and political organisations around the world
Dubai could also be considered a functional region as it was established due to it's proximity to the coastline and Dubai creek which is the main features in which the city has expanded outwards from
Hot and arid climate with the average temperature at 33.4 degrees due to its location in close proximity to the equator and the Tropic of Cancer
Majority of the year is spent in summer conditions with high winds and sand storms
Winters are mild and short and last from December to March
Very low levels of rain fall with rain falling on average of only 5 days a year
Extremely low density of natural in-land water sources
Low density of wadis (dry river beds)
High mountain ranges in the west of the region such as the Hajar mountains which are surrounded by small desert shrubbery
The desert accommodates an array of plant life such as wild grasses, date palms and acacia and ghaf trees
Dubai's geographical location in relation to the rest of the world is central to it's importance as major shipping and trading ports (and increasingly in air transport services with the emergence of Emirates as one of the world's leading airlines)
From the early 3rd century to the modern era, the city's unique central position allowed it to connect east and west which allowed trading companies to offer quick and expansive connections not available anywhere else in the world
The flat coastline surrounding Dubai also enhanced the city's development with ships being able to enter ports relatively easily in comparison to other ports
This attracted traders from other regions increasing incomes and therefore boosting the economy
Dubai's proximity to oil reserves is central to city's success with income generated through the sale of oil allowing the Dubai royal family to expand infrastructure within the city so rapidly
Nomadic cattle hurders were the first known inhabitants of the Dubai area
The earliest evidence of their inhabitance dates back to 2500 BC
This was the first use of land in Dubai for agricultural purposes
The land is believed to have been unihabitated for the next 2700 years until the 3rd century
The desertification of this land is likely due to the lack of natural resources in the area at that time and the poor soil which makes agricultural cultivation difficult
From the beginning of the 3rd century, the Sassanian or Persian Empire ruled over the region
In the mid 7th century the Sassanian Empire collapsed and Islam spread into the area with the Ummayad Caliph tribe taking control of power
However the empire collapsed in just under 100 years and the area descended into tribal rule
The city itself, under the name of Dubai, was believed to be first established in 1095
At this point in the time, Dubai began to develop a booming pearl industry which was an integral contributing factor to the town's expansion
In the early 19th century the Al Abu Falasa clan became the sole ruler of the area and reunited the region
The city wasn't self sustaining until the 1883 with the city relying heavily on support from Abu Dhabi
Following tribal feuding in 1833 the Al Makotum dynasty, that still remains in power today, came to preside over the region
In 1841, a smallpox epidemic broke out in west Dubai forcing droves of citizens to relocate to Deira
A fire then swept through Deira in 1894 burning down many homes but the town's location continued to attract foreign traders and merchants
Trade tax charges were lowered in the early 20th century by the emir of Dubai to lure traders from nearby ports
This caused many traders to migrate to Dubai and base their businesses out of the city
Dubai came under the protection of the United Kingdom in 1892 to protect the city from the burgeoning interests of France, Germany and Russia
Dubai relied heavily on pearl exports but the outbreak of World War 1 reduced demand to a minimum destroying the entire industry
The collapse of the pearl industry sent the city into a deep depression with many residents starving or migrating to other areas in the Gulf
In 1947 hostility between Dubai and Abu Dhabi reached boiling point with a border skirmish erupting between the two cities
Electricity, telephone services and an airport were first established in 1950
Oil was first discovered in Dubai in 1966 leading to an unprecedented expansion of the city
The discovery of oil led to large influx of foreign workers that would take up jobs at the rapidly expanding oil sites
The city's population grew by 300% between 1968 and 1975
Since Dubai's first inhabitants, the city's culture has been steeped heavily in Islamic traditions
Alcohol is forbidden in public places and appropriate conservative clothing must be worn in public locations other than the beach
Unfortunately there is still a drastic lack of gender equality which is common in Islamic states like the UAE
Despite the influx of western elements to the region in recent decades, the traditional dress still remains popular among the bulk of the population
Port facilities have also evolved dramatically with the advent of modern technologies
Major tourist attractions and luxury facilities such as the Burj Khalifa, Burj Al Arab, Palm Jumeriah, 'World Islands', Ski Dubai and Dubai mall have been created to attract tourists to the region
The growth of Emirates airline which benefits from basing operations in Dubai with its central location allowing the airline to offer passengers a one stop transit hub to all corners of the globe
This rapid expansion has led to increased development of supporting infrastructure such as Dubai airport and the Dubai metro railway
Many other projects and tourist attractions are planned such as the Dubai city tower or already in construction with Dubai but the city's rapid expansion is likely to be slowed with oil reserves drying up and the city already facing 80 billion dollars worth of debt
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