Friday, January 25, 2008

Masdar City

Masdar City in Abu Dhabi is set to become the world's first carbon-neutral city:
"The United Arab Emirates (UAE) has just officially unveiled its plans to build the world's first carbon-neutral city. Situated on Abu Dhabi's desert outskirts, 'Masdar City' is designed from the ground up to be the first completely environmentally sustainable city and a hub for renewable energy research. The UAE's rulers hope Masdar will eventually house at least 1,500 businesses and 50,000 people, powered by solar and other renewable energy sources.

"Residents will be able to get by on foot, despite the region's blistering climate, thanks to architectural techniques that promote shading and help generate cooling breezes. Stops for the city's solar-powered "personalized rapid transport pods" will be no further than 200 meters apart. Lord Norman Foster, the founder and head of the architectural firm in charge of the Masdar development, said the project 'promises to set new benchmarks for the sustainable city of the future.'"

The UAE was recently cited as having the world's worst ecological footprint. In fairness, however, while some Emirati projects, such as the artificial islands, are not well thought out from an environmental standpoint, a lot of this probably relates to the country's hot desert climate and oil-based economy. When I was there, I found a lot of environmental awareness, especially in Abu Dhabi.



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