Today the WWF and the city of Abu Dhabi released more details (here's our first story) of the 47,500 inhabitant eco-town called Masdar ("the source" in Arabic) that they plan to raise from the desert floor. WWF provided ten sustainable-city concepts, the UK's Foster and Partners is supplying the design, and a new Abu Dhabi corporation is contributing the cash for the walled Masdar City, which will stretch out 3.5 miles and is planned to be carbon neutral, zero waste and car free.
Like Dongtan near Shanghai, Masdar is to be created from the ground (or the sand) up. It's a little disturbing that in Dongtan's case, a bird haven is being encroached upon, and in Masdar's case a strip of fresh-water-free desert near the Abu Dhabi airport with daytime temps of up to 50C is the site. The WWF says it will independently verify Masdar's eco-performance. Electricity will come from photvoltaic panels, cooling from concentrated solar power, water from a solar-powered desalination plant, and landscaping irrigated with city gray water. Sound utopic? There are even more marvels, below the fold!Masdar City is supposed to be a multi-level design, with light rail on one level moving people in and out of the city while pedestrians rule at ground level and personal rapid transit flits back and forth above. In addition to solar power, wind turbines will be employed, as well as waste-to-energy plants.
Masdar's buildings will only be up to five stories high, and built on narrow streets no more than 10 feet wide, with rooftops covered with solar generators and street-level "solar canopies" providing shade. A solar photovoltaic plant will be the first structure to be built at the city site. So far, the United Arab Emirates' Masdar Corporation, which is the main 'owner' of the project, hasn't publicly put a price tag on building this sustainably-oriented fortress, but Guardian correspondent John Vidal called it "tens of billions of petro-dollars" to bring the city to fruition in its inhospitable location. Masdar - the corporation - also announced a 500 MW hydrogen plant, jointly owned by British Petroleum and Rio Tinto, is in the works. Whatever it ends up looking like in reality, Masdar is nothing if not ambitious. Via ::TheRegister
P.S. Why the walls? To diminish both the heat carried in from southerly desert winds and the noise from the airplanes at the nearby Abu Dhabi International airport.