Masdar Cuts Back, Slows Schedule, Loses the PodCars


Image Credit: Nigel Young, Foster + Partners
Inhabitat shows a lovely slideshow of the Masdar Institute by Foster and Partners, including these terracotta mashrabiya screens that provide both ventilation and privacy. Unfortunately, it is going to take longer to finish, and will be less green, than was originally planned.
Image credit: Masdar

According to Adam Schreck of Associated Press, the completion date is being pushed back by five years, perhaps longer. Plans to run the place entirely on solar power have been reconsidered:

The Abu Dhabi Future Energy Co. -- which goes by Masdar or "source" in Arabic -- also backed away from original plans to power the city solely on power produced on site. The latest plans still call for the project to rely solely on renewable energy, however....Masdar said it is exploring a range of clean-energy sources for the city, including geothermal energy and solar thermal cooling, but that it will also consider buying renewable power from other locations.

It was an ambitious target. An energy expert told Schreck:

Trying to get to a zero-carbon footprint is extremely difficult. To try to supply all the energy internally was going to be a pretty tough challenge."


Image: Jesse Fox

The personal rapid transit that Podcars that Jesse photographed in Abu Dhabi? They are downgraded to an "ongoing pilot project," while other kinds of electric vehicles will be allowed in. These have always been a concern; in Jesse's Masdar Roundtable, Richard Register noted:

Personal rapid transit seems like a car-addicts claim to socially responsible transit without giving up the idea of the car. No matter how I try to screw that notion around to actually getting into one of those things, held up in the air with an expensive infrastructure when the surface of the earth is almost free in comparison, and do the economics and math, I can't figure how the impersonal privacy of the proto-car you are in would be fun or safe-feeling.

But whether or not it is as green as originally planned, it is still a landmark project; as Christopher Choa told Jesse:

What's green about Masdar City is not the solar cell technology, nor any of the other high-tech features. By far, the greenest characteristics are well known and straightforward: mixed-use, high-density development, incorporating mass-transit. These attributes, when pushed to their limit as they are in Masdar, create the vast majority of the environmental benefit.

More at MSN.

More on Masdar:

Model Ecopolis Called Masdar
Masdar: Sustainable Model or High-End Ghetto?
Ecocities of Tomorrow: Can Foster + Partners' Masdar City in U.A.E be Truly Sustainable?

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Tags: Alternative Energy | Architects | Green Building