When we think of modern day cities and rapid development, we often look to China and the cities of Shanghai and especially Beijing as they prepared for the 2008 Summer Olympic Games. On the other side of the world in the Middle East, the United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) has been leading a whole new wave of city creation. Abu Dhabi, which sits on 10 percent of the world's oil, has deep pockets for ambitious urban development.
Sadiyaat Island is at the forefront of the Emirate's master plan and serves as its shining star, especially with its $27 billion USD cultural district. For art and architecture lovers, this new 670 acre island will be home to the Guggenheim Abu Dhabi Museum (Frank Gehry), Louvre Abu Dhabi (Jean Nouvel), Sheikh Zayad National Museum (Foster + Partners), Performing Arts Centre (Zaha Hadid), and The Maritime Museum (Tadao Ando). The first buildings are scheduled for completion in 2012-2013.
What I find remarkable about Abu Dhabi is its commitment to leaving no carbon footprint and to power much of this new development with renewable and sustainable energy. The nation is truly preparing for the day when the oil runs out as it wants to be the leader in solar, wind and other renewable energy.
New ideas are flourishing in the region and with the opening of N.Y.U. Abu Dhabi in 2010, the Government has established the first liberal arts campus in the Middle East by a major American research university. The first graduating class of 2014 is comprised of over 150 students from 39 countries.
One can also find these same amazing growth trends in the area of tourism and hospitality. The nation's flagship carrier Etihad Airways was created in just 5 years and already serves 50 destinations around the globe. Abu Dhabi is also home to what is considered the world's most expensive hotel ever built at over $3 billion USD - Emirates Palace Hotel Abu Dhabi.
Please keep in mind that the only way to see the property is to be a registered guest or have reservations at one of the many restaurants on site.