Dienstag, 5. Januar 2010


I finally learnt the word ecumenopolis. I've been looking for it for a while, and I learnt it just in time; not long now until we can use it to describe this planet.


Dubai set a record the other day for longest amount of time spent preparing a fireworks display. As with many astronomically expensive monuments built to welcome a new era, the initial fanfare is already making way for worrisome head scratching on what to do next. How do you fill 160 floors of real estate?

Dubai has long been walking a thin line between construction and demolition, with every ecological scar necessitating an even more outlandish break from reality, and every break from reality setting it further down the path toward economic self destruction. A perpetual oscillation between metropolis and apocalypse has been set in motion. The view from the top is of a wasteland, a landscape neglected; but it is better to gaze out at the wasteland than live amongst it. The crisis may not have escaped Dubai, and Dubai certainly hasn't escaped the crisis. With the ultimate 'Al Burj' (simply: The Tower) project canceled, and the fickle world economy looking for a new muse, the Burj Khalifa may come to represent Dubai's Icarus moment. That final firework was the pyrotechnic climax of modern Babylon.

For our impending ecumenopolis however, the pattern is set. The rich will live above the clouds, the poor will live in the windswept gutters. Environmental enlightenment notwithstanding, Dubai will eventually come true. There will be two types of land cover: urban and desert. Cloudscapes are the renaissance gardens of our gothic future.

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