Saturday, November 01, 2008

The article is titled "Raising cities from the sea: trouble-shooting the world's mega-projects"
(Sat, Nov 01, 2008).

This article deals with a meeting of industry leaders to discuss how to remodel the Gulf coastline at the Middle East Coastal Projects Conference 2008. YES you read it correctly! In some parts of the world the mission is to "remodel" the coastline and make it as different as is humanly possible from the original and natural coast.

Dubai, UAE, 1 November 2008: A lack of imagination - or funds - has never hampered development in the UAE. There are now US$536 billion of marine works and projects planned or underway in the region as the GCC remodels its coastline in its bid to become one of the world's most popular destinations for tourism and commerce. The Middle East Coastal Projects Conference 2008 is being launched by MEED, the business intelligence experts, to explore this exciting and ever-expanding area of construction and development.

While money is not a barrier, the technical and engineering challenges faced by developers dredging and then building on reclaimed land on such a huge scale are equally massive. The list of issues to be overcome by planners, developers and specialist marine contractors includes: environmental concerns around dredging and ever-tightening regulation; engineering at the cutting-edge; proper ground improvement works and pre-construction testing; social, economic and infrastructure planning; understanding what buyers and investors want in a competitive market; and, not least, how to deliver such mega-projects as the Waterfront in Dubai on time and on budget.

Middle East Coastal Projects 2008 conference will explore the key challenges and highlight the enormous potential for those involved in coastal development. Supported by Platinum sponsors Burooj Properties, the two-day conference and master classes will be held on November 16 to 18 2008 at the Westin Hotel, Dubai.

Edmund O'Sullivan, Chairman, Meed Events comments: "The Middle East Coastal Projects 2008 conference comes at an exceptionally exciting time for specialists involved in the residential and commercial development sector. Thanks to imaginative and high-profile projects such as Nakheel's Palm Islands in Dubai and the ambitious Saadiyat Island development in Abu Dhabi, the eyes of the world are on the Middle East. The pressure of this expectation in turn creates huge challenges for those involved in the complex and costly task of reclaiming land and building upon it in a sustainable way. (Read - "digging up the desert and land filling the coastline!" There is no "reclaiming" going on here).

"Anyone who has an interest in residential and commercial development here in the Middle East will make exceptional contacts at the conference - including residential and industrial developers, port operators, planners, dredgers and, of course, marine contractors. Delegates are expected from all the GCC countries and further afield including the USA and Canada, Europe and Asia."

Key speakers and industry insiders contributing to the conference include:
Majid Yavary, Vice President (Infrastructure Development), Abu Dhabi Ports Company
Ghassan Ziadet, Regional Head of Bridges (Middle East & India), Atkins
Ian Raine, Project Director (Arabian Canal), Limitless
Ali Mansour, Director, Nakheel
Reji John, Senior Director, NSCC
Gerald Mille, Chief Executive Officer, QDVC
John Martin, Managing Director (Middle East), WSP

Delegates for MEED's Middle East Coastal Projects 2008 conference are also able to take advantage of two pre-event master classes on best practice for marine and coastal construction: firstly, how to ensure that projects meet increasingly stringent environmental regulations and secondly, on how to manage risk across partnering agreements. (Note: I assume that these regulations do not include filling in the Gulf and buolding artificial islands, dislocating and disrupting marine life, having massive human activity including demand for water and sewage disposal, boats and all kinds of discharge threats. But then again, I may be wrong).

MEED is the acknowledged market-leader in key regional industry-focused events and conferences; delivering expert, up-to-date business intelligence, industry data and research findings. More information about Middle East Coastal Projects 2008 - including the latest news, pre-event masterclasses and full conference details, can be found at

This is all very interesting by comparison to American and Canadian concepts of coastal zone management and stewardship.What do you think? Is this the wave of the future as other countries start developing their coastal zones?

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