Masdar City, a zero-waste, zero-carbon city in the desert

Posted on 06 May 2014.

Located 30 kilometers from Abu Dhabi in the midst of an inhospitable desert, Masdar City aims to be the world’s first sustainable “smart city,” with no carbon footprint.

Masdar means “source” in Arabic, but the city seems something close to a mirage. Construction in the United Arab Emirates began in 2008 and is scheduled for completion in 2025. Solar energy and smart buildings will be used to meet Masdar City’s goal of “zero waste, zero carbon.” The city’s design reflects the precepts of the circular economy (Understanding the circular economy), in which industrial networks are designed to mimic the cyclical behavior of natural ecosystems. Electricity supplied by a concentrated solar power plant will power a transit system that is 100% electric, as well as seawater desalination plants. Each household will be connected to a network for monitoring energy consumption.

Buildings are being designed for maximum shade. Wind towers draw cool breezes passing above the city into vertical tubes that are channeled to ground level, reducing the temperature by several degrees with no energy costs.

Oil-rich Abu Dhabi has poured $18 billion (€13 billion) into the project. Creating a “smart city” is an expensive proposition, but the investment will yield dividends over time in the form of energy savings and innovation. The city hopes to attract 1,500 businesses that specialize in sustainable products and technology, plus more than 50,000 residents.
Masdar City is proof that a clean city is no longer a utopian vision but a genuine urban model that substantially reduces greenhouse-gas emissions (for which cities currently bear much of the blame). The concept has already inspired other cities to take action, including Vancouver, Nantes, Lyon and Stockholm.

> Learn more:

- Welcome To Masdar City (vidéo)


Main picture: [email protected] Atelier Illume (Illustrator) and LAVA (Architect)