The Futurist: Masdar City
A rendering of a courtyard in Masdar City. (Masdar)
Another miracle city is coming online in the Gulf, but not one like the desert-defying, energy-sucking sprawl of Dubai and Abu Dhabi. Rather it’s a zero-carbon, zero-waste city that combines modern technologies and design with traditional measures.
Masdar City sits in the desert about 10 miles outside of Abu Dhabi, a pioneer town for sustainability and urban design. While the entire six-km-square city, designed by Foster + Partners, won’t be finished until 2025, the core parts of the first phase are in place, including the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology. Cars and trucks are banned from the city (they will travel in tunnels underground) allowing for narrow streets and alleys. The buildings’ thick walls provide shade to pedestrians and funnel breezes through them. This, along with the thick perimeter wall around the city, is an age-old technique in Arab towns.
The city, which will eventually be home to 50,000 people, relies entirely on solar, wind and other renewable energy sources, and a desalinization plant will provide water, 80% of which will be recycled. Biological waste will be turned into fertilizer.
A special economic zone in the city is planned in order to foster renewable energy and cleantech companies. Masdar City reps are currently on a roadshow—most recently in Sweden—trying to woo international corporations and investment to this eco-city in the sun.