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Caution in Abu Dhabi's New Cities for Workers

On November 12, 2009

Abu Dhabi is planning to build three new cities to shelter foreign low-income laborers and workers of the construction industry.  The plan is to build enough houses to accommodate 400,000 people and are geared at single and double room occupancy.  According to Arabian Business:

The cities have been constructed according to the highest international standards, the director of facilities management at Abu Dhabi’s Higher Corporation for Specialised Economic Zones (ZonesCorp) told UAE daily Al Bayan.

The cities will be comprised of single and double rooms that will accommodate workers, technicians, supervisors and engineers working in the industrial and construction sectors in the emirate of Abu Dhabi.

Will these cities help alleviate the need for low-income housing, which already has far greater demand than supply in the region, or is it masked at segregating workers from the rest of society in areas far from the city? According to Gulf News, one of the locations is 35 kilometres away from Abu Dhabi city.

Furthermore, cities comprised of only low-income, male single foreign laborers could lead to apartheid-like enclaves than a city and the ghettofication of worker housing.