Join 3,512 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


The Dead Weight of Debt
January 28, 2011 12:19 PM   Subscribe

"The World", an ambitious real estate project conceived at the height of the real estate boom, is sinking back into the sea.

Also discussed previously on the Blue.
posted by reenum (34 comments total) 8 users marked this as a favorite

 
What can be done to save these property owners? They must be saved! They are the finest people in The World!
posted by gurple at 12:22 PM on January 28, 2011


Finally, a bailout that requires an actual bucket.
posted by milquetoast at 12:22 PM on January 28, 2011 [14 favorites]


I'd like to nominate Dubai for the First Annual Tomorrowful Award for Really Perfect Symbolism.
posted by Tomorrowful at 12:23 PM on January 28, 2011 [10 favorites]


Look upon my works, ye Mighty, and despair!
posted by Admiral Haddock at 12:24 PM on January 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


"Sand nourishment" is such an odd phrase.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 12:24 PM on January 28, 2011


Sometimes Dubai appears to be slowly acting out the plot of Brewster's Millions.
posted by 2bucksplus at 12:25 PM on January 28, 2011 [6 favorites]


The irony is a bit thick. Some days I feel like I'm living inside Transmetropolitan.
posted by Stagger Lee at 12:27 PM on January 28, 2011 [3 favorites]


Awesome.
posted by odinsdream at 12:28 PM on January 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Nobody could have predicted...
posted by T.D. Strange at 12:29 PM on January 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


The World Ozymandias
posted by Cranberry at 12:29 PM on January 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


WORLD'S LARGEST METAPHOR HITS ICEBERG SINKS INTO SEA
posted by Iridic at 12:39 PM on January 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


It's not so much "sinking" as it is balancing out between the high (above water) and the low (below). The "sinking" article says "sands are eroding and the navigational channels between them are silting up."

For more schadenfreude, here's timeline of construction and purchases, including various celebrities who owned or were given certain islands.

In images: the idealized world, and the current Google Maps view (screencap for posterity).
posted by filthy light thief at 12:40 PM on January 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


Dear Askme, My yard is looking less and less like Europe. Is my landlord responsible for adding sand to it?
posted by orme at 12:41 PM on January 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


I bet the guy who bought the property on Everest feels pretty smug about now.
posted by dances_with_sneetches at 12:42 PM on January 28, 2011


The Ruin (a poem partly lost due to fire damage)

This masonry is wondrous; fates broke it
courtyard pavements were smashed; the work of giants is decaying.
Roofs are fallen, ruinous towers,
the frosty gate with frost on cement is ravaged,
chipped roofs are torn, fallen,
undermined by old age. The grasp of the earth possesses
the mighty builders, perished and fallen,
the hard grasp of earth, until a hundred generations
of people have departed. Often this wall,
lichen-grey and stained with red, experienced one reign after another,
remained standing under storms; the high wide gate has collapsed
. . . .
a quick design in rings, a most intelligent one bound
the wall with wire brace wondrously together.
Bright were the castle buildings, many the bathing-halls,
high the abundance of gables, great the noise of the multitude,
many a meadhall full of festivity,
until Fate the mighty changed that.
Far and wide the slain perished, days of pestilence came,
death took all the brave men away;
their places of war became deserted places,
the city decayed. The rebuilders perished,
the armies to earth. And so these buildings grow desolate,
and this red-curved roof parts from its tiles
of the ceiling-vault. The ruin has fallen to the ground
broken into mounds, where at one time many a warrior,
joyous and ornamented with gold-bright splendour,
proud and flushed with wine shone in war-trappings;
looked at treasure, at silver, at precious stones,
at wealth, at prosperity, at jewellery,
at this bright castle of a broad kingdom.
The stone buildings stood, a stream threw up heat
in wide surge; the wall enclosed all
in its bright bosom, where the baths were,
hot in the heart. That was convenient.


. . .
posted by bearwife at 12:45 PM on January 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


Castles Made of Sand
posted by Xoebe at 12:48 PM on January 28, 2011


Oh big deal. I had that same basic idea years ago.
posted by Saxon Kane at 12:51 PM on January 28, 2011


filthy light thief: Your Google Maps link dropped my map somewhere near Independence, KS and asked if I was referring to M & M World, 22 E 42 St, New York, NY 10017. For some reason I really enjoy that.
posted by Mister Fabulous at 12:51 PM on January 28, 2011 [2 favorites]


/cheer
posted by londonmark at 12:54 PM on January 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Sic transit gloria mundi.
posted by Kinbote at 12:55 PM on January 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Listen, lad. I've built this kingdom up from nothing. When I started here, all there was was swamp. All the kings said I was daft to build a castle in a swamp, but I built it all the same, just to show 'em. It sank into the swamp. So, I built a second one.That sank into the swamp. So I built a third one. That burned down, fell over, then sank into the swamp. But the fourth one stayed up. An' that's what your gonna get, lad -- the strongest castle in these islands.
Just three more real estate developments to go and they're all set!
posted by tommasz at 12:57 PM on January 28, 2011 [4 favorites]


*shrug* Another sob story for optimistic property owners gone underwater.
posted by carsonb at 1:00 PM on January 28, 2011


As if to add insult to injury, that crappy projection they're using uses most of its islands making up Siberia and Greenland, which seems like a bad idea if your whole point is to cater to the nationalism of billionaires.
posted by Copronymus at 1:09 PM on January 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


...He watched the tide slowly roll out, carrying with it a few more grains of his precious island. At this rate, his +2 Australia bonus wouldn't last the week...
posted by jellywerker at 1:17 PM on January 28, 2011


Man plans, God laughs
posted by Flood at 1:29 PM on January 28, 2011


Ark sales are up though.
posted by Kabanos at 2:21 PM on January 28, 2011


I always wondered who was going to buy the island that represented Israel...
posted by Dagobert at 2:59 PM on January 28, 2011


Mister Fabulous: filthy light thief: Your Google Maps link dropped my map somewhere near Independence, KS and asked if I was referring to M & M World, 22 E 42 St, New York, NY 10017. For some reason I really enjoy that.

That was completely unplanned, but indeed amusing. Try this link (which seems to find the right place, but suggests M & M World, 22 E 42 St, New York, NY 10017 as your intended search).
posted by filthy light thief at 3:38 PM on January 28, 2011


filthy light thief writes "The 'sinking' article says 'sands are eroding and the navigational channels between them are silting up.' "

Not to defend this obnoxious waste of effort but aren't the articles just quoting a plaintiff with a million dollars on the line who claims the islands are eroding? The developer says things aren't as bad as the plaintiffs claim. None of the articles seem to reference independent proof. The court even sided with the developer in the case though it isn't clear whether it's because they didn't believe this claim or for some other reason in spite of this claim.
posted by Mitheral at 3:42 PM on January 28, 2011


Dagobert: I always wondered who was going to buy the island that represented Israel...

My quick bit of searching finds no answer to this question, but I did find that some agency or company named Opulence Holdings were going to develop Somalia for AED 1 billion (as of 2007), which currently calcs out to some 272 Million USD, which seems tacky to say the least.

And Private Islands Online has some answers to questions such as "What is The World?", "Who is developing The World?", and "For whom is The World intended?"
posted by filthy light thief at 3:52 PM on January 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


Mitheral: Not to defend this obnoxious waste of effort but aren't the articles just quoting a plaintiff with a million dollars on the line who claims the islands are eroding?

Yes, but which news agency has a reporter located in Dubai (or the money to send one) these days? And everyone wants to run with a fluff story saying "The World is Sinking!"

Perhaps you missed the memo, but the fact checking department was cut in the last round of budget reconfigurations. Now the news is all about trusting sources, and using "citizen journalism"* to fill in the gaps.


*Note: requests for corrections shall now be referred to as "citizen journalism" and "updates from our readers."
posted by filthy light thief at 4:27 PM on January 28, 2011


Not to defend this obnoxious waste of effort but aren't the articles just quoting a plaintiff with a million dollars on the line who claims the islands are eroding? The developer says things aren't as bad as the plaintiffs claim.

I don't know about the islands sinking, but the channels are definitely slipping shut. I used to sail through the islands (not allowed, but I've been sailing there since before they started to build them, so fuck it) and that is no longer advisable. The deepest channels are still ok for most motor boats, but it is getting to the point where I won't take a fin-keeled boat there.
posted by atrazine at 11:01 PM on January 28, 2011 [1 favorite]


It makes sense I suppose. I'm guessing beach, shoreline and land stabilization was supposed to be part of development of individual islands and that work hasn't proceeded.
posted by Mitheral at 11:42 PM on January 28, 2011


We passed upon the stair, we spoke of was and when
Although I wasn't there, he said I was his friend
Which came as some surprise, I spoke into his eyes
I thought you died alone, a long long time ago

Oh no, not me
I never lost control
You're face to face
With the man who sold The World

I laughed and shook his hand, and made my way back home
I searched for form and land, for years and years I roamed
I gazed a gazely stare at all the millions here
We must have died alone, a long long time ago

Who knows? not me
We never lost control
You're face to face
With the man who sold The World
posted by Ritchie at 12:46 AM on January 30, 2011


« Older Playing Doc’s Games by William Finnegan (The New Y...  |  Mike Doyle is making a series ... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments