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Dubai rethinks air conditioned city plan

DUBAI: Developers have scaled down plans for Dubai’s proposed Mall of the World, dubbed the world’s first temperature controlled city.

The original plans for the 4.5km2, glass-dome-covered development, a mix of shops, offices, hotels, apartments and entertainment facilities, have been scaled back after developer Dubai Holding initiated a review of the $20bn project.

Morgan Parker, the former head of the Rockefeller family’s Rose Rock real estate firm, was called in to make the Mall of the World more attractive to institutional investors at a time when political turmoil, falling oil prices and declining Dubai real estate values have made them wary of such projects.

According to an interview published by Bloomberg, Morgan Parker has recommended a scaled-down plan “that doesn’t require breaking records to attract attention”. The new plan includes three malls to be built in stages instead of one big shopping centre, allowing the project to grow gradually depending on demand and investment.

Air conditioning the entire complex is one of a number of options that have been reassessed.

“Air conditioning an entire development is not financially viable and not environmentally responsible,” Morgan Parker told Bloomberg.

Keeping people cool in the summer, however, when temperature reach 45ºC is still a major challenge. To try and overcome the problem, Parker  is said to have commissioned a scientific study on how the body reacts to heat under various scenarios.

“Without shade, people can walk about 176 metres and then they’re done,” Parker said. “You give people shade, they can go further and if you allow them an opportunity to walk into air conditioned space at 24ºC the body temperature drops down to a neutral position.”

To mitigate heat gains, Parker has suggested building towers closer together, providing shaded pathways and awnings and routes that run through buildings.

04/02/2016