Welcome to Masdar City
An overview of the world’s first carbon neutral city
By Dante Clemente
Issue 5 Fall 2010
Masdar City in Abu Dhabi aims to be the first zero carbon city in the world. Designed by British architecture firm Foster + Partners, Masdar City will be a clean-technology research hub anchored by the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology. Commissioned by the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company, the city will be the home of 50,000 people and over 1,500 businesses. Masdar City will be linked to surrounding communities by a network of existing roads and a light-rail system. The city itself is designed to be car free. Key components of the Masdar City’s innovative design strategy are:
Adoption of One Planet Principles. Masdar City will follow the ten One Planet Living principles, guidelines created to ensure that cities and organizations only consume their “fair share” of the earth’s resources.
Sustainable City. Masdar City’s sustainability objectives include:
- Use of sustainable construction material in the construction of the city.
- Construction with substantial waste diversion from landfills.
- Low carbon footprint during the operational life of the city.
- Powered by renewable energy.
- Sustainability that is practically demonstrated as a business value.
Efficient Water Use. Masdar City will:
- Maximize the use of recycled water for all regulatory approved uses.
- Recover and reuse rainwater, condensate and other appropriate waste streams.
- Insinuate behavioral changes to minimize potable water consumption in both residential and commercial units, and also during construction.
- Encourage water conservation programs promoting public participation.
Multi-Modal Transportation System. An innovative Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) system is being piloted in a neighborhood of Masdar City. The PRT system will transport people, goods and supplies, operate in an under croft below pedestrian street level, and integrate with local and regional mass transportation system connections.
Highest Quality of Life. Masdar City will mix traditional Arabic building designs such as wind towers, narrow streets and shaded courtyards with modern healthcare, retail, educational and entertainment technologies and amenities.
Business Friendly. A Special Economic Zone will invite business activity by offering reduced barriers to entry in the Middle East, zero taxes, zero import tariffs and zero restrictions on capital movement.
The ultimate aim of Masdar City is to champion renewable energy technologies and to promote Abu Dhabi’s economy from one that has relied on crude oil and gas exports, into an economy that is knowledge-based and human capital intensive. The Abu Dhabi government utilized design as the strategy by which it positions Abu Dhabi as a global hub for the research and development of renewable energy and sustainable technology. Masdar City will be built in seven phases over the next 10 years. Construction began in 2007.