dubai mall of the worldDubai HoldingA rendering of Dubai's Mall of the World. Not pictured: huge glass roof.

Dubai is like the Texas of the Middle East: Everything is bigger.

Much bigger.

Already the home of the world's tallest building, Dubai is slated to become the host of The Mall of the World. Developer Dubai Holdings says the city won't just have a glass-domed, climate-controlled interior, but hundreds of buildings, thousands of hotel rooms, and its own fully functional transit system, the company announced late last year.

The company says the Mall of the World will be completed in 2020. If it is, it'll be world's first domed city. 

"We are making good progress with the planning and thoughtful approach to the development of Mall of the World," Dubai Holding COO Morgan Parker said in an email statement to Tech Insider. "It sits at the heart of Dubai and will be critical to the Emirate's economic growth."

The actual specs of the Mall of the World are stupefying.

More than 100 specialists including designers, engineers, and architects are involved on the project, which will take up approximately 48 million square feet of space when all is said and done. 

Minnesota's Mall of America, with its 5.6 million square feet of space, will look tiny by comparison.

It'll also boast a network of 33 roads and 1.6 million square feet of walkways and plazas, not to mention bike routes, bus lines, and even gondola rides on the mall's artificial waterways.

Dubai Holding says it will also have the largest indoor theme park in the world.

dubai mall of the worldDubai HoldingDubai's Mall of the World will be the first domed city on Earth.

Even with their hyper-purified climate, domed cities have an unsettling air to them.

As Motherboard's Brian Merchant observed a couple years ago, a city's need to keep everything contained inside what's essentially a giant bubble means something else is implicitly being left out.

"The masses, including the underpaid immigrants who will no doubt help build it, may be free to wander through by day, but they will surely find no residence there," Merchant wrote, pointing out that the overwhelming majority of United Arab Emirate residents are foreigners.

Dubai Holding says the Mall of the World will consist of five main elements: retail, residential, office, hospitality, and entertainment. These will make up nearly 300 individual buildings in the city across 8 million square feet. The company expects to see 180 million visitors annually once it opens to the public.

The goal is unquestionably lofty.

Domed buildings are the sort of fare normally reserved for science fiction, not urban planning. Building such a structure will require an immense amount of time-intensive labor and upkeep — if it ever reaches the construction stage.

Dubai's famous "The World" island chain shows how mega-projects can fail to meet expectations. Though the islands themselves were completed in 2008, they've had only minimal economic or architectural development since then. 

Dubai has had some successes, namely the cloud-piercing Burj Khalifa. It is also slated to complete the construction of Jeddah Tower by 2019, which will eclipse Burj Khalifa as the tallest building in the world by more than 500 feet and feature the world's highest observation deck.

So big projects aren't out of the question.

But even if the final glass panel does slide into place, there's no guarantee the Mall of the World will pay off in the long run.

We really hope it does.