The Palm Jumeirah

General information about the Palm Jumeirah

Architect various
Location on the Jumeirah coastal area of the emirate of Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates
Date 2001
Style Postmodern
Construction Created using land reclamation by Nakheel, a company owned by the Dubai government
Type Artificial island

Palm_Jumeirah(13)Shoreline Apartments


Atlantis on 1 May 2007

The Palm Jumeirah is an artificial island created using land reclamation by Nakheel, a company owned by the Dubai government. It is one of three islands called The Palm Islands which will increase Dubai’s shoreline by a total of 520 km. The Palm Jumeirah is the smallest and the original of three Palm Islands (Palm Jumeirah, Palm Jebel Ali and Palm Deira) under development by Nakheel. It is located on the Jumeirah coastal area of the emirate of Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates (UAE).


The Palm Jumeirah is in the shape of a palm tree. It consists of a trunk, a crown with 17 fronds, and a surrounding crescent island that forms an 11 kilometre-long breakwater. The island is 5 kilometres by 5 kilometres and its total area is larger than 800 football pitches[1]. The crown is connected to the mainland by a 300-metre bridge and the crescent is connected to the top of the palm by a subsea tunnel[1]. Over the next few years, as the tourism phases develop, The Palm Jumeirah is touted as soon to be one of the world’s premier resorts. The Palm Island is the self-declared ‘Eighth Wonder of the World’. The island will double the length of the Dubai coastline[citation needed].

According to the developer’s publicity material[2], the Jumeirah Palm island will feature themed boutique hotels, three types of villas (Signature Villas, Garden Homes and Canal Cove Town Homes), shoreline apartment buildings, beaches, marinas, restaurants, cafés and a variety of retail outlets. Over 30 beachfront hotels will be opened by the end of 2009[1], including:

Oceana Resort & Spa on 1 May 2007The Trump International Hotel & Tower 
Atlantis, The Palm 
The Taj Exotica Hotel & Resort 
Grandeur Residences 
Tiara Residence 
Oceana Resort & Spa 
The Fairmont Palm Residence 
The Fairmont Palm Hotel & Resort 
The Dubai Estates Hotel & Park 
Hotel Missoni Dubai 
Radisson SAS Hotel Dubai, The Palm Jumeirah 
Kempinski Emerald Palace 
Kempinski Emerald Palace Residences

Palm Jumeirah MonorailTwo Sabre F100 fighter jets have been stripped and sunk near The Palm Jumeirah to create an artificial reef, intended to encourage marine life[3].

A 5.4 km (3.35 mile) monorail is being built on the island which will be able to transport 2,000-3,000 people on and off the island every hour. It is expected to open in late 2008.[1][4]

On 18 June 2007, the Cunard Line announced that it had sold its former flagship, RMS Queen Elizabeth 2, to Istithmar for use as a floating hotel at The Palm Jumeirah beginning in 2009.[5]

Construction began on the Palm Jumeirah island in June 2001 and the developers announced handover of the first residential units in 2006[1]. The island has been created using 94 million cubic metres of sand and 7 million tons of rock. The Palm Jumeirah was created by pouring sand fill onto the 10.5 metre-deep seabed using dredgers. Above sea level, 3 metres of the reclamation were achieved by a dredging technique known as “rainbowing,” in which the sand fill was sprayed over the surface of the rising island. Calcareous sand was used for the reclamation. The island includes a curved breakwater using natural rock, intended to encourage the creation of a natural reef and provide habitats for sea life. The land form was reclaimed by the Dutch company Van Oord, who are world experts in land reclamation. Total cost reached US$12.3 billion and maintaining the island is a costly expenditure[citation needed]. Approximately 40,000 workers, mostly from South Asia, have been involved in the construction of the island[citation needed].

In early October 2007, the Palm Jumeirah had already become the world’s largest man-made island.[4] Also at this time, 75% of the properties were ready to hand over, with 500 families already residing on the island.[4] By the end of 2009, 28 hotels will be open on the Crescent.[4]

The complexities of the construction have been blamed, in part, for the extended delays to the completion of the project, the date of which has been pushed back multiple times and is now nearly two years late. Further controversy was engendered when it was revealed that after launching the project, Nakheel increased the number of residential units on the island (with a concomitant reduction in the amount of physical space between individual properties) from the originally-announced 4500 (comprised of 2000 villas and 2500 apartments) to an estimated 8000 without recompense to those investors who had purchased early in the expectation of greater separation between properties.[6] This increase was attributed to Nakheel miscalculating the actual cost of construction and requiring the raising of additional capital, although, as with any issue related to the Palm that is not wholly positive in tone, Nakheel has never commented publicly on the matter.[citation needed]

Doubts have also been expressed about the quality of the construction and finishing of the properties on the island and the real ability of the infrastructure on both the Palm and the mainland to cope with the stresses of the sheer number of people leaving from and returning to the development every day once complete.[6]

Furthermore, there are numerous concerns about the environmental impact of the Palm. As originally constructed, the breakwater was a continuous barrier, but it was realised that by preventing natural tidal movement, the seawater within the Palm was becoming stagnant. The problem was corrected by adding an additional gap in the barrier. [7] As explained in the National Geographic Channel’s documentary Impossible Islands, part of its MegaStructures series, the breakwater was subsequently modified to create gaps on either side, allowing tidal movement to oxygenate the water within and prevent it stagnating, albeit less efficiently than would be the case if the breakwater did not exist.

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