14 Nov 2019, 11:47am
Desert ski slopes and outdoor aircon: can scorching Sharjah really go green?
It is one of Earth’s biggest carbon emitters, a sun-baked place where SUVs roar from manmade islands to malls with ski slopes. What can Sharjah’s architecture triennial teach us about going green? A perfectly manicured lawn lines either side of the eight-lane highway leading into the Gulf city of Sharjah. Punctuated by rows of palm trees and pink-blossomed flowerbeds, it is a lush, implausible vision, sustained by a constant mist of sprinklers beneath the scorching sun. Beyond the green ribbon, expansive gated villas sprout from the sand, giving way to mirrored glass towers, leading to a reconstructed “old town”, where air conditioning is pumped into the alleys of an open-air souk. It’s not hard to see how the United Arab Emirates, of which Sharjah is the third largest city-state after Abu Dhabi and Dubai, is one of the highest Like