Saturday, April 12, 2008

A different kind of green

We're hearing more and more reports of 'green' projects in Dubai - green buildings, green cities, now today an 800 million square feet US$55 billion "massive green initiative."

When the rest of the world says something is 'green' they mean environmentally friendly & responsible.

It's a trendy word, the thing to be seen to be doing. It's good PR. You're applauded for being 'green'. So Dubai has picked up on it.

But here it actually has a different meaning.

In Dubai, 'green' means just that. The colour.

A green building isn't environmentally friendly, in fact it's just the opposite because it means it'll have plenty of landscaping and water features.

'Green' cities are full of parks and landscaping.

The new Gardens initiative is a Dubai Properties project of four clusters and will be 73 per cent greenery. The rest is buildings.

It sounds like a fantastic project with some great inclusions.

But in a landscape where we don't have topsoil or water I think it's a bit of a stretch to say that it is: "to help conserve and protect the environment."

Green in colour it all is, but 'green' in the sense the world means it ain't.

The story is with Gulf News.


Anonymous said...

I think the above comments are unfair and inaccurate.

If you look at what there're doing out at the Waterfront development, you'll see that it's a bit more than planting some green trees and landscaping.

Dubai is leading the way with 'green' buildings/architecture; all types of sustainability (enviro/economic/social) are being implemented at the DESIGN stage, which means that every detail concerning waste, energy conservation and so forth are be ing accounted for.

Dubai has got most of the world's leading urban planners, architects, and engineers and their 'green' expertise is being put to good use.

Seabee said...

unfair and inaccurate? anon

To take 880 million sq.ft. of arid, salt & sulphure-rich desert with no topsoil or water and build four towns with 642 million sq.ft. of greenery is changing the environment, not 'conserving & protecting' it.

Of course we have some developers truly taking a green approach - the use of condensation from Burj Dubai to irrigate the landscaping is an example. The vast majority who claim 'green' developments are misusing the word in its modern context.

I'm pointing a finger at that majority, who add landscaping and say they have a green building. And at the 'journalists' who print the claim without thinking.

Peripatetic Engineer said...

The UAE is in a unique position to lead the world in sustainable development but they don't seem to care. Here is a region with limited water and other resources (except for oil). It is also has a high density living situation due to the proliferation of high rise apartments buildings and hotels. Why can't they show the world how to recycle waste water back to potable useage similar to Singapore? Recycle organic food waste into garden mulch and methane for energy production. Use wind farms to generate electricity? There just seems to be so many opportunities and little interest on behalf of the leaders.