Masdar Zero Carbon City

We first brought you news of Foster designed Masdar City, the world's first zero carbon city, in 2008.  Now we can bring you some exclusive images of the city taking shape.  The last few years have seen the 6km squared site near Abu Dhabi take shape and address real life problems.  Originally a car free city plans have changed and the planners have introduced other clean-energy vehicles and electric buses.  As a result Mitsubishi iMiev has been chosen to test a point-to-point transportation solution for the city supporting the driverless electric-powered Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) designed by Zagato that speckle the city already. 

A notable discrepancy from the original renderings of the PRT futuristically navigating around the city on overhead monorails has been scrapped.  Instead all transportation is managed underground for the simple reason that electric vehicles do not run efficiently in the scorching sun! Managing the impact of the heat on and within structures has also been a top priority.  How to achieve maximum efficiency at a low build cost and energy cost.  This has been achieved by analysing the orientation of buildings and materials to optimise areas of shadows that naturally cool the pavement.  In a thermal imaging comparison between a typical street in central Abu Dhabi and a street in Masdar City there is a difference in radiant temperature of up to 20 degrees!

Every aspect of this city has to be and is sustainably resourced.  The supply chain that provides the materials for construction for example are 100% sustainably sourced timber, 90% percent recycled-content aluminium, concrete is made from blasted slag (an industrial waste) reducing carbon footprint by 30-40%, and water based paints are used to minimise toxic volatile particles.  While the pipe-dream of a Zero Carbon city is being tested daily and is strictly speaking unachievable it is the spirit and enterprise that Masdar follows to accomplish the ultimate eco urban planner's dream.  Perhaps zero carbon is an impractical way of looking at eco solutions, but rather is should be called the Pure City.

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Foster and Partners Masdar Project

Mitsubishi iMiev pilot scheme

Patterned windows allow for light but also create energy-saving shadow

All transportation runs underground


Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) designed by Zagato