Being home to one of the world's largest malls is apparently not enough for the rulers of the United Arab Emirates, even just five years after Dubai was crippled by a massive debt crisis. The nation’s ruler, Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, says his planned Mall of the World will, at 8 million square feet, be twice as large as Minnesota's Mall of America, and include a theme park covered in the summer, 100 hotels and apartments, and yes, an entire street network that is climate-controlled. This is, after all, the desert.
Dubai is expecting a surge in visitors when it hosts the World Expo in 2020, reports Al Jazeera, which authorities say will cost $8.4 billion to organize but generate $23 billion. The mall should accommodate 180 million visitors a year—more than four times the current record-holder, the Las Vegas Strip, which pulls in 40 million visitors a year. The project is the world’s first “temperature-controlled (pedestrian) city," covering 48 million square feet, according to Gulf News. Though the announcement indicated that construction is imminent, it didn't include a timeline or cost, adds Reuters. (Click to read about China's plans for the world's tallest tower, rising a kilometer into the sky.)