Forbes list 9 reasons why Dubai 'Could Be The Most Important City Of The 21st Century'

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Every now and again a city defines a time. We wrote about this when we set up Lovin Dubai last September. 

It's unclear what causes this zeitgeist, whether it's economic factors, a burst of creativity, a new identity being discovered or a major global event taking place. Looking back in history, it would have been interesting to live in Rome at the height of the empire, or in Paris at the turn of the 20th century, New York after the Second World War, or London in the 1960s. Now is Dubai's time, and it's great to be living here while the city grows in stature. 

Forbes contributor Elizabeth MacBride noticed this during a couple of recent visits. Here are nine reasons she has identified that show it's Dubai's time and how it will rise, even after "the last gasps of the oil culture". She says of Dubai: "the rise of business as a way to govern society... (and) the shift in the world’s economy from developed markets toward emerging markets".

1. Dubai is a city of immigrants. 

The wisest commentators on cities know that immigrants fuel great cities. Writing in 1949, E.B. said the city of final destination was New York’s greatest identity. “It is this (immigrant) city that accounts for New York’s high-strung disposition, is poetical deportment, its dedication to the arts, and its incomparable achievements.”

2. Dubai is a gateway city.

One-third of the world's population, nearly two billion people, live within four hours flying time from Dubai International; 80 per cent within 12 hours (via

3. It’s also the gateway to Iran

"The re-entrance into the world economy of a natural-resources-rich nation of 80 million people"

4. It’s making a serious effort to modernize, especially when it comes to women.

"Women constitute 66 per cent of the public sector workforce". (via UAE Minister of State for Federal National Council Affair)

5. The economy is diversified.

"...the biggest sectors in the Dubai economy are trade and tourism, which account for more than 28 percent of the GDP; business and finance, which account for more than 27 percent; and transportation, accounting for nearly 14 percent"


6. It’s made a big commitment to free trade.


7. It’s a cultural hotspot.

8. It is drawing tech talent from around the world.

(Photo: Kamran Jebreili / AP Photo)

9. It's transforming itself to become a global city.

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Now read: Dubai is the most expensive city in the world - survey finds.

Written By

Richard Fitzgerald

Rich is a media fiend who hasn't been seen without an iPhone in hand since 2007. With a passion for all things health and fitness, what he lacks in hair he more than makes up for in creativity. As the founder of Lovin Dubai, he's our fearless leader.