Early in the 19th century, members of the Bani Yas tribe began to settle along the banks of a salt-water creek in what is now the city of Dubai. As the settlement grew, the creek became a major fishing port and harbor. On the north bank lay the areas we now call Shindagah, Deira and Al Garhoud. On the south bank are the areas of Bur Dubai, Karama and Oud Metha. Today these areas are residential and business centers. They are also characterized by the busiest traffic in the city.
With the discovery of oil and the growth of the oil industry in the second half of the twentieth century, the Emirates began to grow in wealth and importance. Dubai became the major port and trading center and, as the population swelled in size, the town began to spread southwards along the main Sheikh Zayed Road, a highway which made its way through the sands towards Abu Dhabi. Office and residential tower blocks sprang up along the length of the road. To the west of this road, towards the coast are the residential areas of Jumeirah and Umm Suqeim. On the eastern desert side we can find the industrial area of Al Quoz and Al Barsha.
The area known as new Dubai also lies on this road, but much further to the South. The apartment buildings of the Dubai Marina and Jumeirah Beach Residences lie on the coastal side. On the desert side of the road are the villas of The Lakes, The Springs, The Meadows and Emirates Hills.
As the traffic along Sheikh Zayed Road grew in volume, a bypass road called the Emirates Road was built further out from the coast in the desert. Today, new developments are springing up along that road as well, including International City, Silicon Oasis, the Arabian Ranches and Dubai Sports City.