Depending on where you live, the sun is either a huge threat or one of the most amazing attributes this world has to offer. Often times we underestimate how powerful it can be until we can visually see the astonishing developments it can help create. For areas within the desert it can seem as if the sun does more harm than good, but between the walls that create the city of Abu Dhabi, it is the source for a new dimension of living. Imagine a city that is entirely based off sustainable, urban development? Welcome to Masdar City.
Now, envision a city free of cars and skyscrapers. It doesn’t seem practical, right? In 2008, Masdar City broke grounds and is still being built to this day. The layout of Masdar has combined 21st Century engineering with traditional desert architecture having a goal of providing the people residing there with zero-carbon comfort (BBC News). Since its construction the goal of sustainable living has kept to its word. The plan was to have around 50,000 people living within this community and approximately 1,000 businesses positioned to work within the heart of renewable energy while being the prime location for innovation. To power the city the biggest solar farm in the Middle East has been built which includes a huge circle of mirrors all reflecting toward the same tower. To produce heat, the light is directed down in a beam about three feet wide to power the generators. Many plans including the design of buildings have also been made to achieve the sustainability goal for the city.
Orientation of buildings has been an important factor to minimize solar heat on the buildings’ walls and streets while maximizing cooling breezes at night (masdarcity.ae). It has been made so that the proximity between work and entertainment is all relatively close to disregard the use of transportation. The structure of the buildings has been a significant factor by prioritizing the outdoor space for people to enjoy and making the buildings no more than five stories. A high quality of living focusing on the environment and surroundings has been a huge outcome of Masdar City. Along with the power of the sun, a hydrogen plant has also been built considering it does not emit as much carbon dioxide into the air (Jane Mcgrath).
The image above shows one of the buildings built in Masdar
As someone living in the United States with unlimited amounts of water it is hard to grasp the fact that water is such a significant resource in so many countries simply because one can easily go day by day without thinking about how important it really is. Masdar included the recycling of water into its goal plan and involved plans of recycling 80 percent of water used. Considering that Masdar is located in the middle of the desert, the extra water from showers and sinks is used to irrigate the landscape surrounding it. Although these aspects are incorporated in current day Masdar, it is said to be 2016 for the final completion (Jane McGrath).
One may easily wonder how the residents of Masdar get around so efficiently. The city of Masdar has been set up so that it is a walkable and pedestrian friendly area. Although walking is highly valued, it may not be ideal for every situation which is why the Smart Transportation Network has been created in Masdar. It consists of a driver-less point-to-point personal rapid transit, an electric vehicle ride-share program accompanied by accessible and strategically positioned car parks (Madar.ae). Electric Bus options can also be considered along with an automated public transportation network. So, it is clear that there are in fact still cars but they are zero-carbon.
The future of Masdar
This city is one where green companies can flourish and where eco-friendly innovations are encouraged. Research and technology will be in the center of Masdar prioritizing education and environmentally friendly communities. Some things to think about is how this can or will be the green city of the future. Depending on later success as a result from Masdar, many other countries can learn something from this green city and approach life from a sustainable approach. The construction of this city showed that it takes a lot of effort and time. Not many people would necessarily want to relocate to live sustainably except when sustainability can enhance life. This new wave of innovation could shape the world as we know it. There will be challenges and many fall backs in regards to this technologically advanced city, but with many drawbacks comes improvement which people can expect to see over the course of the next few years. We can learn not only from the things that have went well but what did not work as well.