Masdar City

Masdar City

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Masdar is a project in Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi (emirate)
Abu Dhabi, officially the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, , is one of seven emirates that constitute the United Arab Emirates . It is the capital of UAE and is the largest emirate by area , and second-largest by population , accounting for approximately 86% of the total land area of the UAE...

, in the United Arab Emirates
United Arab Emirates
The United Arab Emirates, abbreviated as the UAE, or shortened to "the Emirates", is a state situated in the southeast of the Arabian Peninsula in Western Asia on the Persian Gulf, bordering Oman, and Saudi Arabia, and sharing sea borders with Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar, and Iran.The UAE is a...

. Its core is a planned city
New town
A new town is a specific type of a planned community, or planned city, that was carefully planned from its inception and is typically constructed in a previously undeveloped area. This contrasts with settlements that evolve in a more ad hoc fashion. Land use conflicts are uncommon in new...

, which is being built by the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company
Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company
The Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company is an Abu Dhabi-based renewable energy company that develops sustainable low-carbon energy projects. It is wholly owned subsidiary of Mubadala Development Company.-Operations:...

, a subsidiary of Mubadala Development Company
Mubadala Development Company
Mubadala Development Company PJSC was established in October 2002 as a Public Joint Stock Company and is a wholly owned investment vehicle of the Government of Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates....

, with the majority of seed capital provided by the government of Abu Dhabi. Designed by the British architectural firm Foster and Partners
Foster and Partners
Foster + Partners is an architectural firm based in London. The practice is led by its founder and Chairman, Norman Foster, and has constructed many high-profile glass-and-steel buildings....

, the city will rely entirely on solar energy and other renewable energy
Renewable energy
Renewable energy is energy which comes from natural resources such as sunlight, wind, rain, tides, and geothermal heat, which are renewable . About 16% of global final energy consumption comes from renewables, with 10% coming from traditional biomass, which is mainly used for heating, and 3.4% from...

 sources, with a sustainable
Sustainability
Sustainability is the capacity to endure. For humans, sustainability is the long-term maintenance of well being, which has environmental, economic, and social dimensions, and encompasses the concept of union, an interdependent relationship and mutual responsible position with all living and non...

, zero-carbon
Low-carbon economy
A Low-Carbon Economy or Low-Fossil-Fuel Economy is an economy that has a minimal output of greenhouse gas emissions into the environment biosphere, but specifically refers to the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide...

, zero-waste
Zero waste
Zero waste is a philosophy that encourages the redesign of resource life cycles so that all products are reused. Any trash sent to landfills and incinerators is minimal. The process recommended is one similar to the way that resources are reused in nature...

 ecology. The city is being constructed 17 kilometres (10.6 mi) east-south-east of the city of Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi , literally Father of Gazelle, is the capital and the second largest city of the United Arab Emirates in terms of population and the largest of the seven member emirates of the United Arab Emirates. Abu Dhabi lies on a T-shaped island jutting into the Persian Gulf from the central western...

, beside Abu Dhabi International Airport
Abu Dhabi International Airport
Abu Dhabi International Airport is an airport in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. The airport is one of the fastest growing airports in the world in terms of passengers , new airline operators, and infrastructural development...

.

Masdar City will host the headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency
International Renewable Energy Agency
The International Renewable Energy Agency was founded in 2009 to promote widespread and increased adoption and sustainable use of all forms of renewable energy. IRENA facilitates access to all relevant renewable energy information, including technical data...

 (IRENA). The city is designed to be a hub for cleantech companies. Its first tenant is the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology
Masdar Institute of Science and Technology
The Masdar Institute of Science and Technology is a graduate level, research-oriented university which is focused on alternative energy, sustainability, and the environment...

, which has been operating in the city since it moved into its campus in September 2010.

Design and intent


The project is headed by the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company (ADFEC). Initiated in 2006, the project was projected to cost and take some eight years to build, with the first phase scheduled to be completed and habitable in 2009. Construction began on Masdar City in 2008 and the first six buildings of the city were completed and occupied in October 2010. However, due to the impact of the financial crisis, Phase 1 of the city, the initial 1000000 square metre (0.386102158592535 sq mi), will be completed in 2015. Final completion is scheduled to occur between 2020 and 2025. The estimated cost of the city has also declined by 10 to 15 percent, putting the development between . The city is planned to cover 6 square kilometres (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
Personal rapid transit
Personal rapid transit , also called podcar, is a public transportation mode featuring small automated vehicles operating on a network of specially built guide ways...

 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
Novosibirsk
Novosibirsk is the third-largest city in Russia, after Moscow and Saint Petersburg, and the largest city of Siberia, with a population of 1,473,737 . It is the administrative center of Novosibirsk Oblast as well as of the Siberian Federal District...

, Russia
Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

 or Tsukuba Science City
Tsukuba, Ibaraki
is a city located in Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan. It is known as the location of the , a planned city developed in the 1960s.As of 2008, the city has an estimated population of 207,394 and a population density of 730 persons per km². Its total area is 284.07 km².Mount Tsukuba, particularly well-known...

, Japan
Japan
Japan is an island nation in East Asia. Located in the Pacific Ocean, it lies to the east of the Sea of Japan, China, North Korea, South Korea and Russia, stretching from the Sea of Okhotsk in the north to the East China Sea and Taiwan in the south...

.

Partners in the project through its Clean Tech Fund are Consensus Business Group, Credit Suisse
Credit Suisse
The Credit Suisse Group AG is a Swiss multinational financial services company headquartered in Zurich, with more than 250 branches in Switzerland and operations in more than 50 countries.-History:...

 and Siemens Venture Capital
Siemens
Siemens may refer toSiemens, a German family name carried by generations of telecommunications industrialists, including:* Werner von Siemens , inventor, founder of Siemens AG...

. Construction of the first phase of the project is being managed by CH2M HILL
CH2M Hill
CH2M Hill is an American-based global provider of engineering, construction, and operations services for corporations, nonprofits, and federal, state, and local governments. The firm is headquartered in Meridian, an unincorporated area of Douglas County, Colorado in the Denver-Aurora Metropolitan...

. Infrastructure construction for the city will be handled by the Al Jaber Group and design of the central Masdar headquarters building has been awarded to Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture
Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture
Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture , an architecture firm and design firm based in Chicago, is engaged in the design and development of energy-efficient and sustainable architecture. AS+GG designs buildings, cities, masterplans and components of these. It creates designs for an international...

.

Renewable resources


Masdar will employ a variety of renewable power resources. Among the first construction projects will be a 40 to 60 megawatt
Watt
The watt is a derived unit of power in the International System of Units , named after the Scottish engineer James Watt . The unit, defined as one joule per second, measures the rate of energy conversion.-Definition:...

 solar power plant
Solar thermal energy
Solar thermal energy is a technology for harnessing solar energy for thermal energy . Solar thermal collectors are classified by the United States Energy Information Administration as low-, medium-, or high-temperature collectors. Low-temperature collectors are flat plates generally used to heat...

, built by the German firm Conergy
Conergy
Conergy AG is a company in the solar energy industry founded in 1998 by the former chairman of the board Hans-Martin Rüter. It had a turnover of 706 Million euros in 2007, and employs more than 2000 staff. It also has a company called Conergy Americas....

, which will supply power for all other construction activity. This will later be followed by a larger facility, and additional solar panels will be placed on rooftops to provide supplemental solar energy totalling 130 megawatts. Wind farm
Wind farm
A wind farm is a group of wind turbines in the same location used to produce electric power. A large wind farm may consist of several hundred individual wind turbines, and cover an extended area of hundreds of square miles, but the land between the turbines may be used for agricultural or other...

s will be established outside the city's perimeter capable of producing up to 20 megawatts, and the city intends to utilise geothermal energy as well. In addition, Masdar plans to host the world's largest hydrogen power plant
Hydrogen economy
The hydrogen economy is a proposed system of delivering energy using hydrogen. The term hydrogen economy was coined by John Bockris during a talk he gave in 1970 at General Motors Technical Center....

.

Water management has been planned in an environmentally sound manner as well. A solar-powered desalination
Desalination
Desalination, desalinization, or desalinisation refers to any of several processes that remove some amount of salt and other minerals from saline water...

 plant will be used to provide the city's water needs, which is stated to be 60 percent lower than similarly sized communities. Approximately 80 percent of the water used will be recycled and waste water will be reused "as many times as possible," with this greywater
Greywater
Greywater is wastewater generated from domestic activities such as laundry, dishwashing, and bathing, which can be recycled on-site for uses such as landscape irrigation and constructed wetlands...

 being used for crop irrigation and other purposes.

The city will also attempt to reduce waste to zero. Biological waste will be used to create nutrient-rich soil and fertiliser, and some may also be utilised through waste incineration
Incineration
Incineration is a waste treatment process that involves the combustion of organic substances contained in waste materials. Incineration and other high temperature waste treatment systems are described as "thermal treatment". Incineration of waste materials converts the waste into ash, flue gas, and...

 as an additional power source. Industrial waste, such as plastics and metals, will be recycled or re-purposed for other uses.

The exterior wood used throughout the city is Palmwood, a sustainable hardwood-substitute developed by Pacific Green
Pacific Green
Pacific Green Industries Limited is a Fijian manufacturer of furniture and architectural products. It is most recognised for its Pacific Green brand furniture and its development of Palmwood, a sustainable substitute for tropical hardwood. Pacific Green is distributed...

 using plantation coconut
Coconut
The coconut palm, Cocos nucifera, is a member of the family Arecaceae . It is the only accepted species in the genus Cocos. The term coconut can refer to the entire coconut palm, the seed, or the fruit, which is not a botanical nut. The spelling cocoanut is an old-fashioned form of the word...

 palms that no longer bear fruit. Palmwood features include the entrance gates, screens and doors.

Reaction


The project is supported by the global conservation charity World Wide Fund for Nature
World Wide Fund for Nature
The World Wide Fund for Nature is an international non-governmental organization working on issues regarding the conservation, research and restoration of the environment, formerly named the World Wildlife Fund, which remains its official name in Canada and the United States...

 and the sustainability group BioRegional
BioRegional
BioRegional is an entrepreneurial charity, which aims to invent and deliver practical solutions for sustainability. It was founded in 1992 on the belief that overconsumption of resources was the driving force behind environmental degradation, and set out to find new ways to meet more of their needs...

. In response to the project's commitment to zero carbon, zero waste and other environmentally friendly goals, WWF and BioRegional have endorsed Masdar City as an official One Planet Living Community.

Some skeptics
Skepticism
Skepticism has many definitions, but generally refers to any questioning attitude towards knowledge, facts, or opinions/beliefs stated as facts, or doubt regarding claims that are taken for granted elsewhere...

 are concerned that the city will be only symbolic for Abu Dhabi, and that it may become just a luxury development for the wealthy. Nicolai Ouroussoff
Nicolai Ouroussoff
Nicolai Ouroussoff is the architecture critic for The New York Times.-Biography:Born in Boston, Massachusetts United States, he received a bachelor’s degree in Russian from Georgetown University and a master’s degree from the Columbia University Graduate School of ArchitectureThe protégé of the...

 calls it the ultimate gated community
Gated community
In its modern form, a gated community is a form of residential community or housing estate containing strictly-controlled entrances for pedestrians, bicycles, and automobiles, and often characterized by a closed perimeter of walls and fences. Gated communities usually consist of small residential...

, "the crystallization of another global phenomenon: the growing division of the world into refined, high-end enclaves and vast formless ghettos where issues like sustainability have little immediate relevance."

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