Calling itself "the world's most sustainable eco-city" and boasting wind and solar power technologies – including the world's first floating offshore wind farm – that cut energy and water consumption to 40 percent of that of similar-sized cities in the region, Masdar City in Abu Dhabi may very well be providing a "greenprint" for a new world.
The planned city is being built by Masdar, a renewable energy company, and has received the majority of its funding from the government of Abu Dhabi since its inception in 2008. The project has defied its early skeptics. in an article published in December of that year, The Economist wrote:
"The world's grubbiest people, measured by emissions of greenhouse gases per head, are the citizens of the United Arab Emirates. The country's huge oil wealth allows many of them to drive big, fuel-guzzling cars and live in huge, power-guzzling homes. What is more, the country's hot and muggy climate means that almost all the buildings are air-conditioned, and almost all the water is obtained from energy-intensive desalination plants. The result is an offence to the atmosphere."
The article continued, reporting that,
"In 2006 Abu Dhabi's development agency unveiled the Masdar Initiative, to pursue “solutions to some of mankind's most pressing issues: energy security, climate change and truly sustainable human development”. The initiative consists of a research institute to develop environmental technologies, an investment arm to commercialise and deploy them, and an eco-city to house these two outfits and to serve as a test-bed for their ideas. All this, it is hoped, will turn Abu Dhabi into the Silicon Valley of clean technology, where green-minded academics, entrepreneurs and financiers will rub shoulders."
Masdar City has since defied its critics to become a true city of the future and aims to attract both eco-minded residents and commercial entities who will join tenants like GE, Mitsuibishi, Siemans, Lockheed Martin, and 450 companies ranging in size from multinational corporations to smaller startups as it expands construction on its 64.5 million square foot site.
(Cover photo: ForgeMind on Flickr)