• The Cyborgoisie Issue
    The Cyborgoisie Issue


    Bad News

    Dubai’s “Mall of the World” Will Be the First Climate-Controlled City

    The world’s first temperature-controlled city is being constructed in Dubai. The city will be 48 million square feet large, and comprise the largest indoor theme park in the world, 100 hotels with 20,000 rooms, a 7 km retail temperature-controlled street network, the world’s largest mall, and a “wellness district” for medical tourists. To compare, New York has 260 hotels with 90,000 hotel rooms.

    The project is really a gigantic mall, and has aptly been named the Mall of the World. For the first time ever, here’s a city where the residents can avoid natural weather conditions entirely.

    Another thing residents will probably be able to avoid is people who can’t afford to live there. In a city that’s really a mall, the line between resident and outsider is an easy one to draw — if you can’t afford the services and products sold, you have no business in there. Of course, like airports or luxury districts around the world, one can imagine the Mall will be surrounded by residential areas supplying it with retail workers, construction and maintenance workers, food and service workers, entertainers, machine operators, medical staff, and so on. Or like the floating city in Elysium (2013) and the wealthy time zone New Greenwich in In Time (2011), one can imagine this urban utopia to become a similarly precarious constellation always threatened by the impossible and unlivable conditions upholding it.

    But all there is right now is a video and some announcements – who knows if it will ever get built. After all, a different “Mall of the World” was announced in 2012 as part of another development in Dubai in a different location, and it looks like the new announcement has superseded the old one. On the other hand, this might be a precursor to what urban development will look like on many coasts around the world. Climate deniers are finally being ignored for the toothless old grandpa’s they are, while governments are waking up to the fact that their cities might be under water before the end of this century. It seems quite likely that New York and other metropolises will deal with the weather more in this Dubai fashion, and less like the abandoned-film-set apocalypse we dreamt of back when the global collapse of civilization was a much-heralded revolutionary project.

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