Masdar City

masdar

Masdar (Arabic for ‘source’) is a project in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates. Its core is a planned city, designed by the British architectural firm Foster + Partners. Masdar City will rely entirely on solar energy and other renewable energy sources, with a sustainable, zero-carbon, zero-waste ecology, and is designated as a car-free zone.

It is being built by the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company, a subsidiary of Mubadala Development Company, with the majority of seed capital provided by the government of Abu Dhabi. Construction is underway 11 mi east-south-east of the city of Abu Dhabi, beside Abu Dhabi International Airport. Skeptics are concerned that the city will be only symbolic for Abu Dhabi, and that it may become just a luxury development for the wealthy, a city sized gated community.

Phase 1 of the city is scheduled for completion in 2015, and the final completion is set to occur by 2020-2025, at an estimated cost of between $18.7 and 19.8 billion. The city is planned to cover 2.3 sq mi and will be home to 45,000 to 50,000 people and 1,500 businesses, primarily commercial and manufacturing facilities specialising in environmentally friendly products, and more than 60,000 workers are expected to commute to the city daily.

Automobiles will be banned within the city; travel will be accomplished via public mass transit and personal rapid transit systems, with existing road and railways connecting to other locations outside the city. The absence of motor vehicles coupled with Masdar’s perimeter wall, designed to keep out the hot desert winds, allows for narrow and shaded streets that help funnel cooler breezes across the city.

Masdar City will be the latest of a small number of highly planned, specialized, research and technology-intensive municipalities that incorporate a living environment, similar to Novosibirsk, Russia or Tsukuba Science City, Japan.

Masdar will employ a variety of renewable power resources. Among the first construction projects will be a 40 to 60 megawatt solar power plant, built by the German firm Conergy, which will supply power for all other construction activity. This will later be followed by a larger facility, and additional photovoltaic modules will be placed on rooftops to provide supplemental solar energy totalling 130 megawatts. Wind farms will be established outside the city’s perimeter capable of producing up to 20 megawatts, and the city intends to utilize geothermal power as well. In addition, Masdar plans to host the world’s largest hydrogen power plant.

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