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The Making of Dubai

1939 Dubai Population: 21,000 1954 Halcrow receives its first contract to dredge Dubai Creek, to ensure its navigability and sustainability of harbor commerce.1956 Dubai’s first concrete block house is built 1957 Christopher Meyer from the British surveying firm Windnell & Trollope visits Dubai. He counts twelve Westerners and reports ‘there are the following Europeans in Dubai:’ Political Agent Tripp (on leave) Asst. Adams Agency Admin. Gunston B.P. Jackson I.P.C. Kirkbridge and wife Doctor McAnliffe Bank Manager King and two assts. Agriculturist Huntingdon Police Larrimer 1958 Sheikh Rashid bin Saeed Al Maktoum becomes ruler of Dubai at the age of 30. During a session in his Majlis, he delivers his memorable aphorism, ‘What is good for the merchants, is good for Dubai.’ 1959 John Harris meets Donald Hawley, British Political Agent for the Trucial States during the latter’s holiday in London. This fortuitous contact leads to John Harris’ first trip to Dubai to meet Sheikh Rashid, and he is hired as Dubai’s first town planner. Hawley will also ensure Harris is commissioned for a master plan of Abu Dhabi, Harris is 38 years old.1960 The United Kingdom Board of Trade issues Hints to Business Men Visiting the Persian Gulf, which includes tips in culture, negotiations, and travel in the Arabian Peninsula. Sheikh Rashid forms an advisory committee to approve and promote the Harris master plan. The committee includes Bill Duff (financial advisor to the Ruler), Neville Allen of Halcrow and John Harris. Political Agent Donald Hawley also remains involved. Simultaneously Harris is advising on hospital developments. Nelson Rockefeller announces plans for a World Trade Center in New York City.1961 Dubai’s first central water supply system to accommodate 86,777 households is installed. Halcrow receives instruction from the Political Agent to begin implementation work of Harris’ master plan.1962 Sheikh Rashid begins planning work on Port Rashid. Halcrow study recommends 4 berths. Sheikh Rashid insists on 15. Ambition trumps conventional wisdom. Harris submits master plan to Sheikh Shakhbut of Abu Dhabi.1963 Sheikh Rashid’s son-in-law, Ahmed bin Ali Al Thani, Ruler of Qatar, funds Dubai’s first bridge as a wedding present. Halcrow designs the drawbridge. The two Dubais are connected.1965 First street lights are installed in city center.1968 Harris completes his first architectural project in Dubai: the expansion of Al Maktoum Hospital, expanded from 38 to 106 beds. Dubai Population: 59,000 Sheikh Rashid establishes the National Bank of Dubai – a key player in Dubai’s future development. Harris designs two branches. The Deira branch is the tallest building in Dubai at seven stories.1969 During visit to the Ruler’s Majlis, John Harris witnesses the presentation of a ‘jam jar full of oil’ to Sheikh Rashid. Oil is finally tapped. Full throttle with hospitals, schools, and a more ambitious master plan.1971 Harris submits second and extended master plan for Dubai. The independent United Arab Emirates is formed. British political and military presence is reduced.1972 Queen Elizabeth diverts her flight to refuel in Dubai instead of Bahrain to witness the new airport. The visit inspires Sheikh Rashid to pursue a World Trade Center for Dubai. John Harris is commissioned and conducts a world tour to grasp a rising city/market phenomenon.1975 Construction of Dubai World Trade Centre begins. Dubai Population:183,000 1976 John Harris submits his third and final version of the master plan to the Dubai municipality, which takes over responsibility for planning manners.1979 Queen Elizabeth opens Dubai’s World Trade Center, 39 stories and the tallest building in the Middle East. Dubai’s gateway to a new real estate era opens in the direction of what will become Sheikh Zayed Road.1980 Dubai population



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