Monday, November 24, 2008

Masdar - A Futuristic City

Imagine a city with no cars, a city run on 100% electricity generated by harnessing wind, solar, and geothermal energy. A city where there is zero waste and zero carbon emissions. Imagine a city whose landscaping and crops will be irrigated with treated waste water produced by the city's water treatment plant. A city where drinking water will be provided through a solar-powered desalination plant...that is Masdar, Abu Dhabi for you!

This bold and audacious vision was announced in April 2006 by Abu Dhabi as an effort to reduce their per capita carbon footprint and to embrace renewable and sustainable energy technologies. They currently have one of the world's biggest per capita carbon footprints and by launching a global cooperative platform for open engagement in search of solutions to some of mankind’s most pressing issues like energy security, climate change and truly sustainable human development, it is a step in the right direction.
Masdar, which means “the Source” in Arabic will cost $22bn (£11.3bn), take eight years to build and be home to about 48,000 people and 1,500 businesses. In a city without a car, residents will move in podcars or personal rapid transit system running on magnetic tracks. To see what it would be like, find a promotional video below which was created by Foster + Partners a leading British architectural firm who are designing the city.

What remains to be seen is whether Masdar is going to end up becoming a luxury development for the rich and the super-rich. Will it really make any dent into Abu Dhabi's carbon footprint? Will it really become a model city for planned cities in future; in their words: "One day, all cities will be built like this". Regardless of the intentions (or ulterior motives) of Abu Dhabi, I think it is a bold step and vision. It will not only facilitate new inventions in the field of energy and sustainable human development but also provide funding for it. Many more projects like these should also help kickstart the slumping world economy since big firms will be involved. So go Abu Dhabi, go Masdar!


Image courtesy: © Foster & Associates

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