Sarah Dea takes a walk around Desert Springs Village in Dubai

September 5, 2012

An idyllic Dubai community is frozen in time despite the skyscrapers closing in on it every day. Desert Springs Village, a villa compound dwarfed by high-rises, is one of the city's first gated communities and continues to exist in uncertainty. The threat of demolition in favour of more modern, cost-effective developments looms constantly.

Established in 1973, the community was once surrounded by nothing more than sand. It now houses rows of quaint villas and is flanked by trees and shrubs. The feeling inside the walls is much different from the concrete jungle surrounding it: children play freely in the streets and dogs wander unleashed in their gardens. Nannies gather in the local park during their evening strolls to share stories and snacks. There's a certain calm in the community; the towering apartment blocks seem to shield the residents from the urban din.

Desert Springs is far from its heyday - an abandoned community hall and a hollowed, cracked swimming pool are relics of days gone by. But the children make their own fun in the dated playground and the residents all seem to know each other by name. Although the community's future is unknown, its curious charm is undeniable.

                     
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