With an environmentally-conscious plan and ambitions to lure some of the world's most well-respected institutions, the emirate of Abu Dhabi is on a forward-thinking path and should be watched more closely than its extravagant counterpart, Dubai.
"While Dubai continues to catch the headlines, it is worth more than pausing to appreciate Abu Dhabi's 2030 plan. Its stated goals are interesting less for their housing and transportation projects - impressive though they may be - but more for the attention to its cultural and environmental goals."
"The capital of the UAE is truly thinking ecologically. Green belts, desert fingers to keep the dunes connected to the sea, protection of the country's mangrove forests and its birds and wildlife suggest an emirate that wants to balance its desire to be a commercial leader, with one that also respects the balance of nature."
"And it is not just environmentally where Abu Dhabi is quietly stealing a lead over its regional neighbours. The emirate is addressing a criticism long levelled at Gulf countries in its focus on becoming one of the cultural capitals of the world."
"Abu Dhabi has so far eschewed the ambitions for the tallest structures in favour of - for example - a Guggenheim Museum, the establishment of an NYU campus - one of the best universities in the world, and the construction of the Abu Dhabi Louvre museum - all on Saadiyat Island, recently tipped to become on of the world's top 10 destinations by the international travel industry."