Ex-pats in Dubai are part of a “suitcase culture” which has no long term interest in the future of the city was a topic explored at an event held for design and build professionals.
The DesignMENA Summit Roundtable was held at the Dubai office of architect firm Godwin Austen Johnson (GAJ) to set an agenda reflecting the industry.
These are to be debated at the DesignMENA Summit, set for December 8.
Architect Fariborz Hatam of FHSI said: “People call us suitcase people because the second something goes wrong in Dubai we pack up and leave, we don’t invest in the region.”
Andre Meyerhans, also an architect, broadly agreed with the statement. He said: “What is interesting is the suitcase, I agree that that is something that needs to be addressed and I believe it should be in a way that people are establishing roots.
“I’ve been here for 12 years and I’m still a suitcase person. How could we change that?”
Kevin McLachlan, partner at GAJ, said he had a long-term view of the development of Dubai.
He said: “I have a strange perspective on things because I’ve been here for 50 years, I came here when I was three months old, there was no hospital.
“What I’ve seen in the last three years is there’s a huge change of Dubai becoming an epicentre.
“We have people from the design industry coming here to collaborate because they’re getting strangled in terms of business back in the west.
“We complain about this, that and say you can’t build a tower next to Sheikh Zayed Road there’s a huge responsibility to create a fake ‘Disneyland’ which is a horrible thing to have to do as a designer, but at the end of the day it’s this tapestry. Some things are real some things are fake, but they get pulled together to create a great sense of life.”