The magnificent Masdar offers visitors a fascinating vision of the future. It is a groundbreaking project that is described as a "green plan". It shows how we could all live and work in the coming decades. The buildings here combine futurism with Arab traditions and are powered by clean energy. The city has been carefully designed and planned according to the principles of sustainable development. It is a unique attraction in the UAE that is constantly evolving. The goal is to build a thriving community of tens of thousands of residents. And we can look inside and see what it means to live in the city of the future.
Masdar means "source" in Arabic, which is very appropriate for a city that hopes to define itself through renewable energy by changing the way cities are designed, built and fed. This seems an unattainable goal for a city in the United Arab Emirates, a country known for making the largest ecological footprint in the world because of its huge oil production and the recent construction boom in cities like Dubai and Abu Dhabi.
Masdar's designers first traveled to ancient cities such as Muscat in Oman, Shibam in Yemen, and Cairo in Egypt to get an idea of how best to build a sustainable city in the Middle East. Their result was a design that combines ancient Arab architecture with modern technology to harness renewable energy and create the best urban layout of the future. The city's creators came up with their "greenprint" design for Masdar, saying that it was the best way to accommodate rapid urbanization while drastically reducing energy, water and waste.
One of the main factors in Masdar's visionary urban plan is to create a city without emissions and therefore without cars. Vehicles entering Masdar are parked on the outskirts, and inside is a solar-powered, driverless urban transportation system that moves people through the city. Private vehicles are limited to off-street parking, but with easily accessible public transportation there is no need for car-filled streets. This allows buildings to be closer and creates a pedestrian-friendly city.
The buildings in the city are built using environmentally friendly materials and are designed to reduce energy and water consumption by about 40 percent. The buildings are standing very close together, forming narrow paths that catch the wind and provide shade for pedestrians.
Another way the city combats the region's high temperatures is by raising the entire base of the city slightly above the surrounding ground and building walls around the city to keep out the hot desert winds. There are no light switches or water taps because they are controlled by motion sensors, which greatly reduces electricity and water consumption.
Masdar uses renewable energy mainly through solar power generated by the Shams power plant, a solar farm of more than 87,000 panels that sits behind city walls on 2.5 square kilometers of land. They also use wind power in the construction of 130-foot wind towers that move air overhead and turn it into a cool breeze that blows through the streets of Masdar, making the temperature in the city much lower at about 70 degrees Fahrenheit compared to the normal temperatures outside the city walls, which often rise above 100 degrees.
Masdar was founded on a base of the university specializing in renewable energy to revitalize the United Arab Emirates as a platform to transition from the Middle East's oil-driven economy to the benefit of future generations. The city has won numerous awards, and in addition to being the headquarters of IRENA, has received support from Greenpeace, the World Wildlife Fund, and other organizations. Masdar's true success seems to lie not in the creation of a new city of the future, but in the continued innovation and research of universities such as the Masdar Institute, and the beginning of a conversation about how technology can improve our cities and daily lives on a global scale.