Construction Process and Post-Construction Impacts of the Palm Jumeirah in Dubai, United Arab Emirates

Colin Gibling

Abstract


The Palm Jumeirah is an artificial island located in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, created through the process of land reclamation. It was developed during an economic boom in Dubai, catering to the increased tourism and luxury living requirements of the city. Design of the Palm Jumeirah started in 2001 and construction has since been completed. Two other islands, the Palm Jebel Ali and the Palm Deira, are still under construction, and are on hold indefinitely following recent financial problems and slowing property markets in Dubai.

The Palm Jumeirah was designed largely to combat the problem of limited development space, especially beachfront properties. The palm shape of the island was decided on as it provided significant beachfront area, while remaining culturally relevant and symbolic. Extensive dredging and land reclamation was required to build the two sections: the outer breakwater and the inner palm shape. Throughout the reclamation process, geographical surveys were completed to ensure that the island was being shaped correctly and built up to the designed elevation. After reclamation was complete, vibrocompaction was used to compact and strengthen the sand, making it a suitable base for construction.

With construction completed, the impacts of the Palm Jumeirah can be observed. Specific areas of interest are the impacts on the island itself, the surrounding geography and the ecosystem. Analysing these areas can give an indication of the success of the project, and be used to develop improved methods of design and construction for similar projects in the future.

The Palm Jumeirah is one of the largest artificial islands in the world, and is a significant coastal engineering feat. Such a large-scale project is accompanied with enormous challenges and requirements. This paper provides a background on the project, describes the challenges presented in construction, and analyses post-construction impacts and future considerations.

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