What Credit Crunch? Two More Ecocity Projects from the Persian Gulf


Coming soon to the Middle East? "The Ziggurat." (Image via World Architecture News)

Financial crisis or not, the folks in the Persian Gulf are thinking big, as usual. While construction projects in the rest of the world are grinding to a painful halt, two new ecocity-building projects have recently been unveiled in the Middle East: a conceptual pyramid-city for one million in Dubai and a $10 billion coastal city project for Qatar.Ancient Mesopotamian Form Makes a Comeback

The more fantastic of the two is a proposal by a Dubai-based planning firm called Timelinks. "The Ziggurat," unveiled at last month's Cityscape Dubai conference, would be a self-contained ecocity with a population of one million. Occupying only 2.3 square kilometers of land, the Ziggurat would probably be the world's most densely-populated city.

Just a conceptual plan at this point, the Ziggurat would have all the trappings of a normal city arranged in a three dimensional pyramid structure, including normally land-based elements such as lakes, parks and agriculture. The design was inspired by the ziggurats of ancient Mesopotamia, ceremonial structures around which ancient cities were built.


The Ziggurat's transportation system: horizontal and vertical networks. (Image via timelinks.org)

A carfree city, the Ziggurat would feature an advanced transportation system based on vertical and horizontal networks and a host of other green features. The entire complex would be self-sufficient in energy production, and rely on renewable sources. Martijn Kramer of the International Institute for the Urban Environment recently told World Architectural News that the Ziggurat is viable from a technical view, but expressed his doubts about the plan's food supply and waste systems.

Qatar Building a New City

Meanwhile, following the lead of several other Gulf states, Qatar has decided to build its own ecocity. Though its green credentials are not yet clear, the city, called Urjuan after a local purple dye, will be "eco-friendly" according to Qatar Visitor, and is being designed by Cansult Maunsell. With its luxury hotels, resorts and apartments, as well as golf courses and a tennis academy, Urjuan's 63,000 future residents will undoubtedly be recruited from among the super-rich.

Via: worldarchitecturenews.com, Qatar Visitor, AME Info
More on green cities in the Middle East:
Xeritown in Dubai
Jordan to Build Sustainable City for One Million
Can Masdar City in UAE be Truly Sustainable?

Tags: Carbon Neutral | Car-Free | Cities | Clean Energy

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