Abu Dhabi’s New Urban Islands and Shorefront Development
El Amrousi, Mohamed
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Abu Dhabi is in the process of urbanizing a group of Islands that surround its northern and eastern coastlines. Al-Lulu, Al-Saadiyat, Al- Maryah, Al-Reem and Yas Islands are all new urban enclaves that were desert islands and marshlands yet, have been developed over the past decade to urban islands that include epic and entertainment centres such as the Abu Dhabi Louvre, Guggenheim Museum, Ferrari World, NYU Abu Dhabi, the Paris Sorbonne Abu Dhabi in addition to iconic and exclusive waterfront residential units. These new islands re-brand the image of the main archipelago of Abu Dhabi that for decades retained a grid street pattern and pragmatic concrete blocks created in the late 1970s. The new urban islands transform Abu Dhabi’s image into a multinational modern Arab city seeking to become part of the global city network. Abu Dhabi’s new urban islands also act as breakwaters that protect the main archipelago’s coastline from erosion resulting from tidal change, because they are designed to include concrete and stone breakwater barriers. This paper represents a cross-disciplinary research between Civil Engineering and Architecture Departments in an attempt to explore the emerging infrastructure and urban expansion of Abu Dhabi from a multi-disciplinary perspective. We also highlight through simulating the effect of breakwaters on wave heights two scenarios for Al-Lulu Island the importance of these new barrier Islands on the urban expansion of Abu Dhabi.