Dubai Marina – a Guide of Waterfront Living

Casted along a two mile stretch of the Arabian Gulf, Dubai Marina is known as a canal city traditionally. The development intends to accommodate more than 120,000 people in the luxurious villas and towers, which are perched on top of the dynamic water front.

A remarkable place, Dubai, where all the young expatriates look forward towards making their first tax free million. A reflection of modern technology and rampant consumerism, it is a typical city of this era.

In the past few years, Dubai has become a hub of entertainment for the regions in its surroundings.


All those people who were residents of Dubai back in the 80s, or let’s say five years ago, would be shocked to see the number of developments that has been done over the past few years. It’s like the city has suddenly appeared out of the dessert sand. Moreover, it is also the capital of one-upmanship, where every development is taller than the existing one, in fact it is better as well. In Dubai, everyone looks forward to the latest and most grand structures yet to establish.

The city’s growth has followed variants of the model of Los Angeles. Since there is no urban history linked to the city, several developers have made a variety of urban conditions of their own.

Developers and Architects

The context claims that HOK was responsible for the master plan of Dubai Marina, for which they were hired in 1999. This development plan, which was mixed-used, is one of the major new centers within the city. It was designed focusing on creating a high-density development.

It is said to be a city within a city, that would help shift the center of Dubai, as perceived towards the Gulf. The land area is approximately 578ha. As the work began on the master plan by HOK, several challenged were faced, such as lack of context. A place with very few historical landmarks and just a sea front on one side, with a motorway on the other. Emaar and HOK wanted to create a community that had extraordinary freedom. The main aim behind it was to develop a generic sense, to define the true essence of a great urban space, translating it into a physical context.

Creating Sense

Dubai Marina was lucky in the sense, that they had a developer who was keen and enthusiastic, with a strong vision. These ideas play a very strong role in the development of a successful urban design. The vision brings the Gulf waters to the site, creating an entirely new waterfront community. It will be an urban space with a residential focus, which will be capable of accommodating a large population.

Another key factor was to have a waterway that was central and large, which was dug from the dessert, running the length of a 3km site. In order to protect this resource and create a place for recreation, the design made a continuous wide strip of 15m of land. This is a very remarkable achievement, considering, the development is a private project.

Though, most of the area is occupied by the water surface, it includes 8km of public walkways that are landscaped, creating a zone of recreation along the water front. It has views of various water basins and a very close relationship with water.

It is a fairly dense urban setting, where fresh water is very scarce and there is insufficient rain, to support the landscapes. The value is in the open spaces that have been finished, which provides the center of development. The public space opens to lights and long vistas.

Framework of Marina

Other than the waterway and promenade, the other important components of Marina are the parks, street and the avenues, which create the development’s framework. The access is provided primarily through the broad landscaped boulevards.

The waterfront road that already existed has been expanded to create a roadway that is broad, through the district. The inner and outer ring roads encircle the east side, providing access to cul-de-sac roads, which terminate in the small parks, located adjacent to the marina promenade.

All the streets in the neighborhood have been designed using walkways, which have been generous landscaped, leading to the marinas and parks. Building entrances have been provided for all these streets, to encourage the access of pedestrians actively, circulating to create visual and functional links between the marina and the buildings.

Environment of the Pedestrians

The convenience that comes along, of being able to walk around the city and perform errands on a daily basis, meeting friends, accessing communities, brings out the real pleasure of the urban life.


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