Affecting change in a startup city
Dubai is a city of change. It’s relentless pursuit for the best possible in everything combined with the surprising humility in admitting mistakes, learning from them and pivoting quickly is what makes it a unique test lab defining the city of the future. It’s a constantly evolving MVP of a city.
I live in Dubai Marina. A ten year old man made marina known as one of the tourist hot spots of the city, home to close to 200 000 people and the world’s tallest residential tower. To the locals it’s also known for it’s traffic jams.
One of the main intersections in Marina recently became a huge bottle neck due to a few bad design decisions made while revamping the street to make room for the newly launched Dubai Tram.
As a test I posted a picture (below left) on Twitter tagging the Dubai Road and Transport Authority (@RTA_Dubai) proposing a fix that would help alleviate the congestion. I didn’t expect anything but to my surprise I got a response asking for more details and the exact location of the intersection. After providing the info and my contact details I got a reply promising that the suggestion would be forwarded to the right party within the RTA.
I didn’t think more of it until a month later when to my I noticed construction at the intersection (see image on the right hand side) removing the unnecessary curb on the road blocking the lane turning to the right – my exact suggestion!
I was blown away by the simple fact that action was being taken but more so by the speed and agility of the execution. I don’t expect that I alone made this happen but it still serves as a testament to the will and attitude of this city.
Having lived most of my life in the Nordics I’m used to transparency and freedom of speech but never have I felt so empowered and so able to influence the development of my habitat and my city than I do in Dubai. After a year in Dubai I have a stronger connection to this city than to my native Helsinki where I’ve spent more than fifteen years of my life.
It truly feels like #mydubai.