Bush Previews Abu Dhabi's Planned Carbon Neutral, Car Free City
- Bush Previews Abu Dhabi's Planned Carbon Neutral, Car Free City
See Bush, Condi and Maquette:
ABU DHABI, United Arab Emirates, January 14, 2008 (ENS) - President
George W. Bush today saw a model of Masdar City - the world's first zero
carbon, zero waste, car free city. Plans call for the green, sustainable
city to open by 2009 in the desert sands of this federation of Gulf
states that have built their wealth on oil and natural gas.
After viewing a model of the proposed city at the Emirates Palace Hotel,
President Bush said, "We just heard a briefing about how they're going
to construct a city based entirely upon renewable energy. It will be an
opportunity to see what works and what won't work, and an opportunity to
share their technology with others."
"I appreciate the commitment to conservation and to the environment, and
the leadership you've shown here," the president said before leaving for
Dubai and Saudi Arabia on the last leg of his Middle East visit that
began January 9 in Israel.
[The rest of the article goes over familiar territory...]
The electricity for the six square kilometer Masdar City will be
generated by photovoltaic panels, while cooling will be provided with
concentrated solar power.
Drinking water will be provided through a solar-powered desalination
plant. Landscaping within the city and crops grown outside the city will
be irrigated with grey water and treated waste water produced by the
city's water treatment plant.
Ground breaks for the construction of the city in early 2008 and is
scheduled to open late in 2009.
A model of the Masdar City will be unveiled on January 21, at the World
Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi, billed as the world's largest
conference and exhibition on future energy solutions, innovations,
investments, and policy.
Masdar City will host the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology;
world-class laboratories and research facilities; commercial space for
clean-tech companies; light manufacturing facilities and a carefully
selected pool of international tenants who will invest, develop, and
commercialize advanced energy technologies.
Design and operation of Masdar City must deal with the realities of Abu
Dhabi's sub-tropical, arid climate where temperatures range from a low
of around 10° Celsuis (50° F), to a high of around 48° C (118° F) in the
The city is part of the Masdar Initiative, Abu Dhabi's investment in the
exploration, development and commercialization of future energy sources
and clean technology solutions.
"The world needs a portfolio of solutions," said Dr. Sultan al Jaber,
CEO of Masdar. "It can no longer be hydrocarbons or renewables. It is a
combination of both."
The Gulf real estate sector must address sustainability issues if it
wants to deliver the US$500 billion of developments planned for the next
seven years in the region, Dr. al Jaber has said.
The global conservation organization WWF will work with Masdar to ensure
the city meets standards of sustainability which include specific
targets for the city's ecological footprint.
The cooperation will take place through the "One Planet Living™"
program, a global initiative launched by WWF and environmental
Jean-Paul Jeanrenaud, director of WWF International's One Planet Living
initiative, said, "Today Abu Dhabi is embarking on a journey to become
the global capital of the renewable energy revolution. Abu Dhabi is the
first hydrocarbon-producing nation to have taken such a significant step
towards sustainable living."
The principles of the Masdar Target include zero carbon, zero waste, and
sustainable transport through facilitating and encouraging the use of
public transport, vehicle sharing, supporting low emissions vehicle
Sustainable materials will be used and construction specifications are
based on high recycled materials content within building products,
Forest Stewardship Council certified timber, and bamboo. Energy used to
manufacture materials will be tracked and the reduction of embodied
energy within materials and throughout the construction process will be
Sustainable food will be plentiful in Masdar City and retail outlets
will meet targets for supplying organic food and sustainable and or fair
The sustainable water target specifies that per capita water consumption
will be at least 50 percent less than the national average and all waste
water will be re-used.
All "valuable" wildlife species will be conserved or relocated with
positive mitigation targets, according to the Masdar target.
Cultural sustainability will be encouraged so that the architecture will
integrate local values, fair wages and working conditions for all
workers as defined by international labor standards will apply, and
facilities and events will be provided for every demographic group.
Dr. al Jaber said, "We are pleased to be able to work with One Planet
Living to make our vision a reality."
"Masdar City will question conventional patterns of urban development,
and set new benchmarks for sustainability and environmentally friendly
design," the Masdar CEO said. "The students, faculty and businesses
located in Masdar City will not only be able to witness innovation
first-hand, but they will also participate in its development."
U.S. companies and universities will participate in the building and
operation of Masdar. The U.S. company CH2M HILL will be the program
manager for the first phase of the development and will be responsible
for technology integration and for aligning the efforts of the
designers, contractors, and third parties with program goals and standards.
"Masdar is inspiring for its vision, boldness and leadership," said CH2M
HILL chief executive Ralph Peterson. "It promises to showcase and
accelerate the development and adoption of technologies in renewable
energy, energy efficiency, carbon management, waste management and water
"As innovations and applications created by the Masdar initiative take
hold, cities around the world will surely benefit, making a great idea a
truly transformative idea," Peterson said.
The Massachusetts Institute of Technology, MIT, and the Abu Dhabi Future
Energy Company signed an agreement in February 2007 that will allow
MIT's Technology and Development Program to help develop the Masdar
Institute of Science and Technology, the first institution dedicated to
research-driven graduate programs in the region.
"MIT faculty and staff will provide advice, scholarly assessment and
assistance in connection with the establishment of the Masdar
Institute," said MIT Chancellor Phillip Clay. "This includes working
with ADFEC to develop collaborative research and create indigenous
academic programs, to create a strategy for commercializing Masdar
Institute's research results and to build the institute's organizational
and administrative capabilities."
The Masdar Institute plans to admit its first postgraduate students in
Abu Dhabi in the summer of 2009.
"The Masdar Institute will serve as the nucleus of the Masdar
Initiative, feeding it with talent and innovative technologies to
enhance economic development and promote new industries using renewable
energy and resources in the emirate and the region," said Masdar CEO Dr.
al Jaber, who is also the ADFEC. chief executive.
Pooran Desai OBE, co-founder of BioRegional and Technical Director of
the One Planet Living Communities program, said Masdar would be the
largest and one of the most advanced sustainable communities in the world.
"The vision of One Planet Living is a world where people everywhere can
lead happy, healthy lives within their fair share of the Earth's
resources," he said. "Masdar gives us a breathtaking insight into this
positive, alternative future."
Copyright Environment News Service (ENS) 2008. All rights reserved.
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- I apprehend that this and similar projects attest to Marge Piercy's
prescience in 'Body of Glass' or 'He, She and It' (different titles in
different countries) published before Gibson and Sterling had imagined the
cyberspace - a few domed cities have become enclaves of decency while the
rest of the world is gang-ridden and poisonous - the jacqueries of what
Piercey called the glop. Rich communication between the secure domed cities
is maintained electronically. Segregation is almost absolute.
Fail to qualify for the domed cities and you are consigned to the glop. I
favour Richard Sennett's idea that it is dangerous to allow free market
forces to allow separation of the rich and the poor.
In case you think this is just theory I try feebly, to live in the light of
the dangers of separation. I went to Westminster and Cambridge (one side of
my family - initially the men - have shared that school, Eton and
Winchester, Oxford and Cambridge between them for a century and more). My
mother's second marriage was to a self-made man from Yorkshire. I have
married into a mining family. This was not a choice based on cross-class
hybridisation It was luck plus being fortunate enough to recognise the roots
of class prejudice well enough to avoid it. I believe this is a narrative
many others could tell - these mixtures that challenge 'iron' rules of race.
We have always lived in inner-city areas - relatively prosperous ourselves
we have long lived close to people who aren't. Recognising the problems of
such areas we have always been part of their political life - their streets,
their shops, their public meetings and worship (I'm secular but have
participated in the sacred celebrations of many different religions). I feel
uncomfortable in suburbs and among any group where everyone's the same (this
is an inner city phenomenon as much as an outer city one - but the inner
city populations are often sticking together in community while the
outer-city one's do it because consciously or unconsciously they've excluded
'the other' and fear them.
Cycling and using public transport further reduce separation which even in
the city can be maintained inside a car. I do use my wife's car occasionally
and we own properties in Greece and Gloucestershire matching the travel
patterns on a smaller scale of Black and Asian neighbours with their links
in India, Pakistan, Africa and Asia. Like many of our neighbours we are
local but well-travelled. We seldom travel for 'holidays'. Our movement is
part of our life, and when in those other places we are inside other local
communities many of whose members maintain contact with us. Arrivals and
farewells are occasions for happy greetings and tearful farewells.
I do not like visiting tourist destinations - placeless commodities -
preferring villages to which a diaspora returns. Places that seem designed
as utopias fill me with nausea. Life cannot be fixed in amber. I worry about
places that are too clean, where there's no crime, no litter, no poverty -
although I loath all three. I like conscientiously maintained cleanness but
I'm suspicious of the antiseptic. In such places want to open cupboards and
check cellars to find where the dirt lurks - material, in the form of the
pollution of chlorine filled pools, air-conditioning fumes and bleached
dishwasher waste, or psychological, in the form of fear of 'the other', the
drive to defend a one-dimensional version of civilisation.
'We have transformed natural landscapes beyond recognition by exporting
unexpected and undesired outcomes to some sort of boundary separating field
from wasteland, us versus them, the managed and the predictable from the
rest. The ³rest² is of course where catastrophe continues to lurk' (Mcneil,
W.H. (1992) The Global Condition: Conquerors, Catastrophes, and Community
(Princeton U. Press,p.147).
For me Masdar is like the Titanic. It may not meet her fate. I hope it won't
but its direction is based on a compass error.
> From: "J.H. Crawford" <mailbox@...>
> Reply-To: <firstname.lastname@example.org>
> Date: Tue, 15 Jan 2008 17:37:21 -0500
> To: <email@example.com>
> Subject: Re: [carfree_cities] Bush Previews Abu Dhabi's Planned Carbon
> Neutral, Car Free City
> Folks, this Masdar thing is starting to look really interesting.
> It's not far at all from what we're talking about, or at least from
> what I can see. (Secret fear: If Bush is in favor, it must be bad.)