Dubai originated as a trading settlement huddled around a natural harbor called the Creek. When it built the World Trade Centre in 1979, it was on the outer edge of the city. With only modest oil reserves, Dubai began to diversify—into finance, real estate, tourism, and aviation—and plunged headlong into expansion, creating a sprawling, car-centric city. Now it’s investing in renewable energy, green building, and mass transit for a more sustainable future. This map was prepared for the June issue of National Geographic Magazine in 2017.

Read an online version of the article here.

© 2017 National Geographic Partners, LLC / All Rights Reserved