Masdar City (Arabic: مدينة مصدر, romanized: Madīnat Maṣdar, lit. 'Source City') is a sustainable urban community in Abu Dhabi, the capital of the United Arab Emirates. It was built by Masdar, a subsidiary of Mubadala Investment Company, with the majority of seed capital provided by the Government of Abu Dhabi.
|Country||United Arab Emirates|
|Seat||Masdar City Hall|
|• Lord Mayor||Abdulla Balalaa|
|• Total||6 km2 (2 sq mi)|
|• Land||6 km2 (2 sq mi)|
|• Water||0 km2 (0 sq mi)|
|Time zone||UTC+04 (Arabian Standard Time)|
Masdar City is located six kilometers from the Abu Dhabi airport. The city, which is also a free zone, is designed to be a business hub and a destination for cleantech companies. Its first tenant was the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, now Khalifa University. Masdar City also hosts the headquarters of several other organizations, including the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA), Siemens Energy, Honeywell, and the Mohammed Bin Zayed University of Artificial Intelligence.
Urban plan Edit
Initiated in 2006, the city was envisioned to cover six square kilometers and estimated to cost US$18−22 billion. The original plan was that it would take approximately eight years to build, with the first phase scheduled to be completed and habitable in 2009.
Construction began on Masdar City in February 2008 and the first six buildings of the city were completed and occupied in October 2010. However, due to the impact of the global financial crisis, completion was pushed back to between 2020 and 2025. By 2016, less than 300,000 square metres (0.12 sq mi) had been developed and final completion was estimated to be 2030. As of 2020[update], a 2030 completion date was still projected.
The city is meant to be an example of sustainable urban development, innovation, and community living. As designed, the city would be home to 45,000 to 50,000 people and 1,500 businesses. More than 60,000 workers were projected to commute to the city daily.
On June 24, 2022, Masdar City broke ground on a new construction called Masdar City Square. It will cover 29,000 square meters, including a net-zero energy commercial headquarters building and six additional LEED Platinum and WELL Gold buildings. It is projected to be complete in 2024.
On February 2, 2023, Masdar City broke ground on The Link, a mixed-use development that will cover 30,000 square meters. It will include a net-zero energy co-lab building that will house both office and residential space, as well as four other LEED Platinum and WELL Gold buildings that will include event space, recreational and fitness facilities, and retail. It is projected to be complete in 2025.
Masdar is designed to welcome pedestrians and cyclists.
The temperature in the streets generally feels 5-10 C cooler than the surrounding desert. The difference is due to urban design. The city's core, called the podium, is raised above the surrounding area and oriented to pull wind through the streets. Buildings are clustered close together to create streets and walkways that are shielded from the sun. Additionally, a 45-metre-high (148 ft) wind tower modelled on traditional Arab designs sucks air from above and creates a cooling breeze.
Masdar City is home to the widely pictured Eco-Residences, which have terracotta walls decorated with arabesque patterns and are rated LEED Platinum. Masdar City also contains a tech park made from recycled standard 40 foot unit shipping containers.
Masdar City was designed by Foster and Partners. Foster's design team started its work by touring ancient cities such as Cairo and Muscat to see how they kept cool. Foster found that these cities coped with hot desert temperatures through shorter, narrower streets, usually no longer than 70 metres (230 ft). The buildings at the end of these streets create just enough wind turbulence to push air upwards, creating a flushing effect that cools the street.
Transportation options include public mass transit and a personal rapid transit (PRT) system, which transports people in autonomous electric pods along an underground track.
In October 2010, it was announced the PRT would not expand beyond the pilot due to the cost of creating the undercroft to segregate the system from pedestrian traffic. Subsequently, a test fleet of 10 Mitsubishi i-MiEV electric cars was deployed in 2011 as part of a one-year pilot to test point-to-point transportation for the city as a complement to the PRT.
In 2018, as part of a trial project, seven autonomous shuttles, called NAVYA, began to operate on the podium, carrying passengers between the car park and the city center. A further route was due to open in 2019 that ran from the residential complex above the city's North Car Park to the headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA) and the Majid Al Futtaim's My City Centre Masdar Shopping Mall.
Under a revised design, public transport within the city will rely on methods other than the PRT and NAVYA.
Masdar City is working on using a mix of electric vehicles and other clean-energy vehicles for mass transit inside the city. The majority of private vehicles will be restricted to parking lots along the city's perimeter. Abu Dhabi's planned but delayed light rail and metro line may eventually connect Masdar City's center with the greater metropolitan area. As of 2020[update], connections to beyond the city continue to be by car, as a projected light rail line does not yet exist.
Commercial tenants and population Edit
Khalifa University Edit
Part of Khalifa University, formerly the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, is located in Masdar City. The design of the campus emphasizes flexibility, the use of traditional architectural elements, and modern materials that minimize energy needs. By 2013, 336 students were enrolled at the institute. These students were selected from more than 2,000 applicants. Forty-two per cent of enrolled students are from the UAE and 35 per cent are female.
The university's building, developed in co-operation with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, uses 51 per cent less electricity and 54 per cent less potable water than traditional buildings in the UAE, and is fitted with a metering system that constantly observes power consumption.
International Renewable Energy Agency Edit
Masdar City is the headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency, commonly known as IRENA, the first intergovernmental organization in the Middle East. Construction of IRENA's headquarters was completed in 2015.
Masdar was selected to host IRENA's headquarters after a high-profile campaign by the UAE. In its bid, the UAE offered rent-free offices in Masdar City, 20 IRENA scholarships to the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, and up to US$350 million in loans for renewable energy projects in developing countries.
Siemens Energy Edit
The regional headquarters for Siemens is also located in Masdar City. The LEED Platinum building makes use of sustainable and energy efficient materials and building techniques. It was designed to use 45 per cent less energy and 50 per cent less water than typical office buildings. The Siemens headquarters won an award for best office building at the MIPIM Architectural Review Future Projects Awards in 2012. The Middle East Architect Awards named it both the best and most sustainable office building the same year.
The 12,000 square-foot building is built around the idea of a "box within a box." The structure includes a highly insulated airtight inner façade that insulates from the sun and a lightweight aluminum shading system on the exterior. The plaza beneath the building is funnel-shaped. This shape works to suck prevailing winds underneath the building. Due to the Venturi effect, a breeze flows up to the roof of the building through atria in the building's structure, cooling public spaces without energy costs. These atria also allow daylight into the center of the building in order to reduce the need for artificial lighting, further reducing energy consumption. The building's automation systems are all from Siemens.
Siemens signed an initial 10-year lease.
Incubator Building Edit
The Incubator Building includes retail and office space to house start-ups, small-and-medium-sized enterprises, and regional offices for multinationals. Some of the most notable tenants have included General Electric, Mitsubishi, Schneider Electric, and the Global Green Growth Institute. It is rated LEED Gold.
The Catalyst Edit
Masdar City partnered with oil giant BP to created The Catalyst, an investor that supports clean-tech start-ups. As of May 2023, The Catalyst supports eight start-ups. It aims to attract companies focusing on green technology, and they accept applications from local and international businesses and entrepreneurs.
Renewable resources Edit
Gerard Evenden, the lead architect, says that the original plan for Masdar called for powering the entire city through on-site methods such as rooftop solar panels. He said,
"When we started this project, nobody had really looked at doing projects of this scale. Then you realize it's much more efficient to build your solar field on the ground in the middle of the desert. You can send a man to brush them off every day, rather than having to access everyone's buildings individually, and you can make sure that they are running at their absolute peak. It's much better than putting them on every building in the city."
Blowing sand has been a problem for its solar panels, so Masdar City has worked with other organizations to engineer surfaces with pores smaller than sand particles to stop them from sticking on the panels.
Low-flow water fixtures are used throughout the city to reduce water use, and waste water is reused "as many times as possible," with greywater being used for crop irrigation and other purposes.
The exterior wood used throughout the city is palmwood, a sustainable hardwood-substitute developed by Pacific Green using plantation coconut palms that no longer bear fruit. Palmwood features include the entrance gates, screens and doors.
The project is supported by the global conservation charity World Wide Fund for Nature and the sustainability group Bioregional. In 2008, in response to the project's commitment to zero carbon, zero waste and other environmentally friendly goals, WWF and Bioregional endorsed Masdar City as an official One Planet Living Community.
The US Government has supported the project. The US Department of Energy has signed a partnership agreement with Masdar in a deal that will see the two organizations share expertise to support plans on zero-carbon cities.
Some skeptics are concerned that the city will be only symbolic for Abu Dhabi. In an interview in 2011, Geoffrey M. Heal, a professor at Columbia Business School in New York City and an expert in environmental economics, called Masdar "a gimmick, a way of attracting publicity and attention." Its use of solar energy is not a practical model for others to follow, Heal further noted, given that few places in the world enjoy as much year-round sunlight as the Persian Gulf.
Personal rapid transit (PRT)
Masdar City under construction
See also Edit
- Farussi, Federico (18 November 2011). "Smart Cities VS Stupid Men". GH Network (in Italian). Retrieved 20 March 2012.
مدينة مصدر. Masdarcity.ae (in Arabic). Retrieved 20 March 2012.
- "Masdar plan". The Economist. 4 December 2008. Archived from the original on 2 January 2013. Retrieved 12 July 2018.
- Hope, Bradley; Stanton, Christopher (9 February 2009). "Al Jaber secures Masdar deal". The National. Archived from the original on 13 December 2009.
- "Work starts on Gulf 'green city'". BBC News. 10 February 2008. Retrieved 10 May 2008.
- "Masdar City: Fast facts". MEED. 17 February 2008. Retrieved 10 May 2008.
- "Bush Previews Abu Dhabi's Planned Carbon Neutral, Car Free City". Environmental News Service. 14 January 2008. Retrieved 10 May 2008.
- Walsh, Bryan (25 January 2011). "Masdar City: The World's Greenest City?". Time. Retrieved 8 September 2013.
- Stanton, Christopher (10 October 2010). "Masdar City completion pushed back, but total cost falls". The National. Archived from the original on 14 October 2010.
- Goldenberg, Suzanne (16 February 2016). "Masdar's zero-carbon dream could become world's first green ghost town". The Guardian. Retrieved 23 March 2016.
- Flint, Anthony (14 February 2020). "What Abu Dhabi's City of the Future Looks Like Now". Bloomberg. Retrieved 29 August 2022.
- Dilworth, Dianna (August 2007). "Zero Carbon; Zero Waste in Abu Dhabi". BusinessWeek. Archived from the original on 5 November 2012.
- Carvalho, Stanley; Hardy, William; Dickson, Gunna (15 January 2009). "First Solar to help power Masdar, UAE's green city". Reuters UK. Archived from the original on 24 December 2011.
- "Masdar City Supports UAEs Carbon Neutrality Goals with New Masdar City Square". Masdar News. 24 June 2022. Retrieved 29 August 2022.
- Oxborrow, Ian (24 June 2022). "Masdar City Square to feature Abu Dhabi's first net-zero energy office building". The National. Retrieved 29 August 2022.
- Salian, Neesha (3 February 2023). "Masdar City breaks ground on The Link". Retrieved 26 May 2023.
- "Masdar City -- Does It Have A Bright Future?". CleanTechnica. 20 March 2013. Retrieved 6 July 2015.
- Nader, Sam (1 February 2009). "Paths to a low-carbon economy—The Masdar example". Energy Procedia. Elsevier. 1 (1): 3951–3958. doi:10.1016/j.egypro.2009.02.199. ISSN 1876-6102. OCLC 4934390707.
- "Masdar Institute, Abu Dhabi".
- "Why Has Masdar Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) Been Scaled Back?". PRTConsulting.com. 16 October 2010. Archived from the original on 13 December 2013. Retrieved 12 September 2013.
- "Masdar Launches Electric-Vehicle Pilot" (Press release). Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. 27 January 2011. Archived from the original on 7 August 2011. Retrieved 14 July 2012.
- "Sustainability and the City: Transportation". Masdarcity.ae. 2011. Archived from the original on 28 August 2013. Retrieved 12 September 2013.
- "Masdar City Launches Autonomous Vehicle Service". news.masdar.ae. Retrieved 26 May 2023.
- "Masdar unveils new self-driving shuttle". Retrieved 28 June 2021.
- "Environmentally friendly driverless commuters successfully tested in Sharjah". 13 October 2020. Retrieved 28 June 2021.
- "Experimentations with Navya's Autonomous Shuttles". Retrieved 28 June 2021.
- "Masdar City to raise challenges and opportunities for sustainable transportation at Electric Vehicle Innovation Summit". wam. 27 May 2023. Retrieved 30 May 2023.
- "Masdar Institute / Foster + Partners". Arch Daily. 23 November 2010. Retrieved 4 March 2015.
- "Work - Masdar City". masdarcity.ae. Retrieved 22 October 2020.
- Leech, Nick (5 November 2013). "Masdar City: Role model for a sustainable future". The National. United Arab Emirates.
- Nick Leech. "Siemens shows it knows green design inside out at new Masdar HQ". thenational.ae. Retrieved 6 July 2015.
- "Siemens, GE Open Up Shop at Masdar City". Triple Pundit: People, Planet, Profit. 24 January 2014. Retrieved 6 July 2015.
- Shahan, Zachary (14 January 2014). "GE Opens Ecomagination Center In Masdar City". Clean Technica.
- "Masdar City completes LEED ratings for all Masdar Green REIT assets". wam. 23 May 2023. Retrieved 26 May 2023.
- "Masdar BP initiative The Catalyst announces support for new start ups at ADSW 2020". news.masdar.ae. Retrieved 22 October 2020.
- Savodnik, Peter (8 December 2011). "Masdar City, Castle in the Sand". Bloomberg Businessweek. Retrieved 27 February 2016.
- "Masdar: the shifting goalposts of Abu Dhabi's ambitious eco-city". Wired UK. Retrieved 6 July 2015.
- Palca, Joe (6 May 2008). "Abu Dhabi Aims to Build First Carbon-Neutral City". National Public Radio. Retrieved 10 May 2008.
- Laylin, Tafline (10 February 2011). "Pacific Green Inaugurates Masdar City's Sustainable Palm Gates". Green Prophet. Retrieved 4 August 2011.
- "WWF, Abu Dhabi unveil plans for sustainable city". wwf.panda.org. Retrieved 31 May 2023.
- Fielding, Rachel (28 April 2010). "US government pledges support for Masdar City plan". BusinessGreen. Retrieved 28 July 2012.
- "2012 EE Visionary Awards: Honoring Energy Efficiency Difference-Makers in Buffalo, Tuebingen, Masdar City". ASE.org. 31 January 2012. Retrieved 20 March 2012.