British Architect, Lord Norman Foster, along with Masdar, a UAE energy initiative, unveiled plans for a carbon-neutral city in the desert of Abu Dhabi last week. Foster & Partners architects will design the car-free city which will eventually house 50,000 people.
Masdar’s research institute, which was founded in partnership with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, will be located in the 6.5 sq km development and aims to turn the city into an alternative energy cluster for 1,500 businesses.
Sultan al-Jaber, Masdar’s chief executive, said “Masdar City will become the world’s hub for future energy – By taking sustainable development and living to a new level, it will lead the world in understanding how all future cities should be built.”
The UAE’s current environmental record one of the worst in the world – has prompted the emirate to tackle the problem in an effort to meet rising utility demands while at the same time develop a high level of expertise in renewable energy. Presumably looking ahead to the day the oil dries up. The formal unveiling of the first model is will be made at a future energy sources meeting in the UAE’s capital this week. Secretary of state for business, John Hutton, and Prince Andrew will be attending.
Construction will start somewhen early in 2008, and the plan is to have a car-free city. A light railway will run from Madar to Abu Dhabi, and pedestrians will never be more than 200 meters away from a public transport connection.
One of the sponsors, Jean-Paul Jeanrenaud, of WWF said, “Today Abu Dhabi is embarking on a journey to become the global capital of the renewable energy revolution.
“Abu Dhabi is the first hydrocarbon-producing nation to have taken such a significant step towards sustainable living.
“Masdar is an example of the paradigm shift that is needed. The strategic vision of the Abu Dhabi government is a case study in global leadership.
“We hope that Masdar City will prove that sustainable living can be affordable and attractive in all aspects of human living – from businesses and manufacturing facilities to universities and private homes.”
Some key targets of the project include: 100 per cent of energy supplied by renewable energy – solar power, wind, waste to energy and other technologies to create a zero-carbon environment; 99% diversion of waste from landfill (includes waste reduction measures, re-use of waste
wherever possible, recycling, composting, waste to energy) in the hope of producing zero waste; Zero carbon emissions from transport within the city and measures to reduce the carbon cost of journeys to the city; using recycled materials for building; using 50% less water than a typical city.