My Google alert for “Dubai” coughed up an interesting website today: Inhabitat.com. It seems to be run by a group of architects, designers, landscape designers and other types who write about sustainability of sorts in energy, development and even fashion. (They have a link about making your own solar shoes!) It seems to be a ultra green, lefty kind of site, not one that I might read every day. But there are some intriguing links. Anyway, what Google shared with me is a recent post on “Dubious Dubai: The Towers we will never see.”

I arrived in the UAE a year ago December 1, so I really missed the heyday: the extravagant launch parties of new real estate developments (that were immediately sold out even before a spade of dirt was flipped,) the celebrity sightings, all of the swag reporters would get upon attending just one press conference. Reflecting back, one reporter I spoke to recently said they were the kind of goody bags you’d expect Oscar attendees to receive.

Nope, by the time I arrived, it was all Great Recession, doom and gloom, layoffs and cutbacks. Still waiting for my invite to a party full of celebs. So it fascinates me to hear about the truly out-there projects that were being proposed. On inhabit.com, they show a few of the interesting ones. Oh, the Dubai that could have been:

Tatooine in real life

Rem Koolhaas was apparently on tap to design two “Deathstars,” one in Ras al Khaimah and another in the Waterfront project in Dubai.

And then there was the super luxury (and now defunct) Palazzo Versace, complete with an air conditioned beach! The sand was supposed to be cooled through a network of pipes beneath it designed to absorb the heat.

No burning your toes

There are other projects with renderings on the site. I enjoyed looking at the pictures. I’m amazed at the creativity, really. It’s kind of a shame that they were just too creative for reality. The UAE would’ve looked like, in some parts, the cities of the future we see in movies. All we would’ve needed would be flying cars.

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