DUBAI: Residents of International City are concerned about a "hidden" urban squalor inside the township's cramped rooms and the "invasion" of bachelors that are driving families away.
Many have complained about the self-contained community being turned into a virtual labour camp — where a large number of Asian workers have migrated from the now-empty labour camps in the city's outskirts.
"On my floor, there are three units where dozens of men share a one-bedroom or studio unit," said a resident at the England cluster.
The situation is the same in the Italy, Greece, Russia, Morocco and China clusters — families living there want developers to do some sort of segregation.
"They drink soda, throw cans and litter everywhere and leave garbage bags on the lobby and staircases. They mess up the place throwing cigarette butts everywhere," said an irate father of two living in the England cluster.
On the face of it, International City, an affordable housing complex off the Dubai-Hatta Road, is a vibrant township with a thriving retail life, affordable gourmet hang-outs, pulsating service-oriented businesses as well as playgrounds. But behind closed doors, residents are grumbling about deteriorating living conditions.
Most of the complex's good qualities are still there, except for the lingering sewage problem in some areas and non-functioning street lights. But residents have bigger fish to fry — they are unhappy about the surging flood-tide of single men there.
"It used to be a great, quiet place," said Flory, an Asian owner-resident. "But now it's been messed up by the overwhelming number of bachelors. It's unfair to those of us who invested here."
She said that her newspaper had been nicked on several occasions.
"In my building, there only two families left. The rest have gone away. Everywhere you go, there are men milling around in the early evenings and on weekends."
Scores of hauling and sewage tanker trucks are parked near the Greece cluster. A father of two in the Spain cluster said: "We don't really talk to our neighbours here. We're OK as long as they don't bother us."
Early on Tuesday evening, XPRESS caught up with a few residents — all men and employed by a cleaning company — as they were getting out of a mini-van. "The instruction given to us is never open the door when someone knocks unless we know the person," said Prakash, the driver.
"Our boss saves on costs and does not want others to know there are six people inside one studio," he added.
This contrasts sharply with a YouTube video of International City taken in 2007 by a property dealer which shows a partially completed development with a few residents and squeaky-clean apartment units.
Because of the lingering sewage spill problems near some clusters, many residents have ditched the complex and moved to other communities in Dubai.
A post by a resident said: "This place is a dump now … it is falling apart. No one is doing anything about it! We are ashamed to live here." No comment was available from Nakheel, the developer of International City.