Remember Dubai’s The World? It was just one of a number of high profile construction projects for a country that seemed to have more dollars than sense. The plan was to create a series of man-made islands in the shape of the major landmasses on the planet. Eventually, plots of land on those islands would be sold off to the highest bidders for residential and commercial zoning. At least that was the plan, but then the world’s economy went into the tank, and like a number of big projects, The World fell victim to the credit crunch, and was canceled.
That may be just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to problems with the man made archipelago, which sits just 4 km off Dubai’s coast. The Times Online is calling it “the world’s most expensive shipping hazard”, and worse yet, the tons of rock and sand that have been dumped into the Arabian Sea have altered the water flow and changed the environment there, which may have a long lasting impact on the ecosystem of that region too.
Now, The World, which in no way resembles the actual planet, is marked as off limits, with security boats patrolling its shores and warning buoys encircling the piles of rock and sand. Only one of the islands is actually occupied, and that one is owned by Sheikh Mohammed, the ruler of Dubai. The rest have fallen into disarray and are described as looking like piles of muck by a local property agent. What was once a high profile symbol of the country’s opulence, now seems like a failure of epic proportions.
Calling all geography and public radio fans: PRI’s The World has teamed up with TravBuddy to recreate The World’s Geo Quiz online. Ten questions, no time limit, and penalties for clicking outside the game while playing. The question formats are exactly as they are read by Lisa Mullens on the air (and it’s a bit more fun if you use her voice in your head), though the quiz questions are still in beta form – a few typos made them occasionally difficult to read.
Test your knowledge of world geography, and then see how your score compares to other quiz-takers. Though I consider my world geography knowledge to be above-average, I still scored in a much lower percentile then I’m comfortable with, but I like to blame it on a high-caliber quiz-taker pool….
Not to be outdone by their oil-rich colleagues in the Middle East, semi-oil rich Russia is now creating its own Slavic version of Dubai’s The World complex.
The World, as you might remember, is a manmade archipelago fashioned in the shape of our planet. The Russian version is slightly more nationalistic in scope and will be designed in the shape of Russia itself.
Federation Island, as it is expected to be called, will be located off the coast of Sochi, the future site of the 2014 Winter Olympics. Although the nearby mountains are a wonderful winter paradise, the beaches they overlook are Russia’s most famous and beloved. The 6.2 billion dollar investment in Federation Island hopes to capture some of that sentiment and become a second home to Russia’s upper class and deep-pocketed tourists–especially those visiting for the Olympics in 2014 when the project is expected to be completed.
For more photos, click here.