Masdar, the world’s greenest city: “The rising city”, this is the meaning of MASDAR CITY.
Designed by the British architectural firm Foster & Partners, who also created the UAE pavilion now at EXPO 2015, it consists of six main buildings, one street, 101 small apartments, a large electronic library and the Masdar Institute.
The project was estimated to cost $18-22 billion and will take approximately eight years to be built, is headed by Masdar, a subsidiary of Mubadala Development Company.
Works started in 2006 and are foreseen to end within 2020, even if part of the city is already inhabited. Masdar City combines state-of-the-art technologies with the planning principals of traditional Arab settlements to create a desert community that aims to be carbon neutral and zero waste.
Strategically located near Abu Dhabi International Airport, IRENA (International Renewable Energy Agency) an intergovernmental organization that supports countries in their transition to a sustainable energy future, will be inside of the city.
Masdar, the world’s greenest city: wind power
The city will cover an area of 6 square kilometres and will host around 50,000 people and 1,500 businesses, primarily commercial and manufacturing facilities specializing in environmentally friendly products. In total, more than 60,000 workers are expected to commute to the city daily.
Being so close to Abu Dhabi, it comes spontaneous to compare it with the capital. Since its birth Abu Dhabi has found its richness in oil extraction operations, featuring with its amazing skyscrapers while Masdar will be the first carbon neutral city in the world. It rises on a square base surrounded by walls which avoid other means of transport from entering the city.
The city has been created in order to exploit the convective motions of the air and maintain lower temperatures thanks to the construction of a large wind tower able to channel the city streets air currents, so the temperature at the street level will be a consistent 10 °C less.
Masdar, the world’s greenest city: water-saving and recycling
In a desert territory in which water is a very valuable asset, the idea is to desalinate the groundwater to make it drinkable with the aid of solar energy. It is also expected that more than half the water used will be purified and re-introduced into the system, which is foreseen to be used in irrigation systems made of gray water.
The production of waste is reduced to almost zero, in fact, only 2% of the waste will end up in landfill, while the rest will be recycled or used as biofuel and fertilizer.
Masdar, the world’s greenest city: mobility system
The city’s infrastructure are being developed mostly under the city, which is entirely walkable. Masdar will be linked to Abu Dhabi and to the airport via a high speed light rail system named the Light Rail Transit (LTR). As it concerns the citizens comings and goings the use of Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) is foreseen: public shuttles and driverless electric taxis, in which people can set the destination to be reached automatically.
The challenge may be enormous, but so are the possibilities.