A bird’s eye view of Dubai’s ever changing skyline
The city continues to develop and announcements of new projects hit the headlines seemingly every day
My favourite movie is The Dead Poets’ Society starring Robin Williams, and whenever I think back to it, I am always reminded of the famous scene where he stands on top of a desk in the middle of the classroom to show his students a different perspective on the world.

I recently had the pleasure of accompanying one of our clients on a helicopter tour of the city as we looked at upcoming developments and potential investment options. I was afforded the opportunity to view this fine city from an entirely different perspective. As the city continues to develop and announcements of new projects hit the headlines seemingly every day, it’s easy to get lost in far-reaching promises and the sight of construction cranes across the landscape. In an almost literal sense, you lose sight of the forest for the trees.

But as I flew over the city, I really got a sense of how much Dubai is changing and how it is delivering on the promises it has made. Many cities around the world talk about development and re-development, but Dubai is one of the few places where that talk can be witnessed turning into action.

Bluewaters Island, for example, has been in the headlines of late as it inches ever closer to completion. Seeing it from the air is an entirely different experience, however, especially as you look at the nearly completed Ain Dubai. What was once a few scraps of metal being put together like an architectural jigsaw puzzle is now a magnificent Ferris wheel that would give both the London Eye and the Singapore Flyer a run for their money. As we headed over the Palm Jumeirah, I was amazed at how much it has changed. XXII Carat, as an example, is a villa project that landed on my desk years ago, and it is remarkable to see how those renders have turned into one of the Palm’s finest new luxury residences.

The Atlantis, as impressive as it is, has perhaps become a fairly common sight for both residents of and visitors to the city. But then you take a look at the upcoming Royal Atlantis, which is a stunning work of architectural design. This immense project is expected to be significantly larger than the Atlantis, which sounds impressive enough on paper. However, seeing the development from on high really gives you better sense of the scope of the project and a better appreciation of just how massive it will be when it’s ready.

Mohammed Bin Rashid City may well be the most anticipated developing community in Dubai. I have been patiently waiting for my friends at Emaar to ask me to sample their new golf course at Dubai Hills Estate. Seeing Dubai Hills from the air, it becomes evident that this truly is one of the most well-designed master planned developments. The turquoise waters of the Crystal Lagoon surrounding District One is a wondrous sight, as are the villas and mansions of that development, many of which are already handing over.

I continue to be amazed by the sight of the Water Canal, and it is sometimes hard to believe that it has only been there for over a year. It has become so much a part of our daily lives that it seems to have been there forever. Looking down on it from above, you get a real sense of the way it connects the city, flowing through all of the major central districts, from the Creek out to the open sea. I especially love the sight of the Marasi floating homes docked by the waterfront. I have always fancied living on a houseboat on the Thames, and it is so fantastic to see that Dubai, the city that has it all, now has luxury homes on the water as well.

In fact, it is astonishing that so many of the landmarks and sights we tend to take for granted in the city didn’t even exist 10 years ago. Yet I drive past them every day without a second thought. Traffic in Dubai being what it is, I am usually more concerned with the car directly ahead of me than in the panorama that lies just beyond my windshield. Viewing it all from the air proved to be a real eye-opener and helped me better appreciate this city’s glittering skyline. This, in turn, makes me think of how that skyline will be reshaped in another 10 years, or even another 20 years. Perhaps I’ll take another helicopter tour, or indeed a hover-taxi ride, and rediscover the beauty of this ever-changing city again.

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