Why build on empty land when you can build on water?

BY IMAN BADWAN

When I first moved into Abu Dhabi, I found it astounding how a desert turned into such a large city, a city that even had greenery. That was my impression in the 90s, when the landmark of the Corniche was the volcano fountain,when there were no malls and when the souk was were you can bargain and buy cheap things.

As I grew Abu Dhabi grew as well, and the old souk was burned down and replaced by what they now call a “New Souk”, a souk that was supposed to be the same as the old one but a more modernized version of it. Well, in my opinion, it looks modernized so far, but definitely not the same.

It certainly looks nicer, but it lost its sentimental value to people, its simplicity, now it just looks like another nice mall to go to. A place that replaced the fun of bargaining into paying even more than what you would pay in any other mall.

But what bothers me to this day is how the beach is getting narrower and narrower through the years, as beautiful as the Corniche is today, it doesn’t seem right to build over a large area of water when there is so much land still vacant throughout the nation. It slowly transformed growing over the water even more and more, to the point that you would sit in a restaurant that once overlooked the beach then you come back a year later and it overlooks parks, streets and then water.

If you notice in the picture below that the buildings stop aligned, all the land below those buildings was initially water. Pictures like this never fail to surprise me every time I look at them, the idea that this was once water gives me the impression of “WOW!”, both in a good way and a bad way.

But then again, the city never fails to impress me with all its architecture and development, for many people it may seem artificial in some ways. But to me, it is home, change is bound to happen anywhere in the world, and to watch the city’s growth is simply a treat.

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