NASA has released an updated satellite photo showing Dubai’s artificial islands and its newly completed Burj Khalifa, the world’s tallest building which stands more than 800 meters (2600 feet tall).
The projects, which were much hyped during development, are seeming ill-conceived on the heels of Dubai’s real estate market crash and two bailouts by Abu Dhabi, Dubai’s oil-rich neighbor.
The island projects — including the two Palm Islands (Palm Jumeirah and Palm Jebel Ali), which appear as stylized palm trees when viewed from above, and the 300 islands that make up “The World” — were controversial for their impact on the surrounding marine environment. Construction the The World islands required some 320 million cubic meters of sand and 37 million tonnes of rock for the surrounding 27-kilometer-long protective breakwater, while the Palm Jumeirah required more than 50 million cubic meters of sand dredged from the sea floor.
The NASA photo, taken January 13, 2010, shows little infrastructure development on islands of The World (started in 2003 and completed in 2008) but extensive construction on Palm Jumeirah (started in 2001 and completed in 2006).