Monday, August 10, 2009

Lauren Greenfield Shoots "Bye Bye, Dubai" for Fast Company

The ever-prolific Lauren Greenfield has just published a monograph of Dubai in Fast Company magazine. Unlike the typical glossy spread focussed on the supercharged capitalism and the heady, ultra-rich atmosphere that defines modern Dubai, Greenfield shows a nation humbled by the current financial crisis and reeling from the global downturn. The article begins:

Deserts have a way of reclaiming whatever is built upon them. In the case of Dubai, on the Persian Gulf, the global financial implosion has sent that process into overdrive. After six years of frenzied expansion, during which the emirate's population grew at 7% annually and nearly $600 billion went into construction (the world's tallest building! the world's largest shopping mall! the biggest man-made island! an indoor ski resort!), reality has come rushing into view.

"They have no oil, no culture, no history," says Peter Harradine, a prominent landscape architect in Dubai and manager of Harradine Golf. "So what they have been able to produce is a miracle." Or was it a mirage? Today, an estimated 50% of the slated developments are frozen or canceled. Banks have stopped lending. Housing prices fell 41% in the first quarter of 2009 and are expected to drop to preboom levels. The stock market has plunged 70% from its peak.

Check out the examples below and find the rest of the article and photos here: