When Busta Rhymes released the seminal hit “Arab Money” in 2008, was it a prophetic vision of this century’s most absurd testament to conspicuous consumption to date? How could Mr. Rhymes possibly have envisioned a 48-million-square-foot, climate-controlled indoor city, complete with sparkling waterfalls and the largest mall in the world?

Dubai’s Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum, a global petrodollar symbol in his own right, has announced plans to construct a massive, hermetically sealed city in the UAE’s most populous emirate. In addition to 20,000 hotel rooms, 50,000 parking spaces, and something ominously called a “cultural celebration centre,” the development will include an 8-million-square foot Mall of the World. (Is that really a title that anyone is vying for?)

For reference, the King of Prussia Mall — the largest in the United States — measures 2.4 million square feet. I have been to the King of Prussia mall. It is terrifying. No mall needs to be that size, and certainly not three times that size. How many Sbarros do you need to make room for, honestly?

The development will also include the world’s largest indoor theme park. Did you hear that, Wisconsin Dells? Shots have been FIRED!

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It will be, er, intriguing to see how a 1.7-square-mile air-conditioned city in the middle of a desert works into the U.N. Development Program’s initiative to reduce Dubai’s carbon footprint by 1.5 million tons over the coming ten years.


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