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NORMAN FOSTER’S GREEN DESERT UTOPIA In Abu Dhabi
Foster + Partners is at it again with their design for Masdar in Abu Dhabi, the world’s first zero-carbon and zero-waste city. The new 6 million square meter walled sustainable development Masdar was driven by the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company and will contain their new Headquarters along with a new university devoted to new ideas for energy production. Additional planning incorporates a variety of special economic zones and a center for innovation. We’ve seen sustainable structures from Foster before, from his Green Library in Berlin to the proposed Entertainment Center in Kazakhstan, but this takes Foster’s green initiatives to a whole new scale.
Foster states, “The environmental ambitions of the Masdar Initiative – zero carbon and waste free – are a world first. They have provided us with a challenging design brief that promises to question conventional urban wisdom at a fundamental level. Masdar promises to set new benchmarks for the sustainable city of the future.”
To remain zero-carbon within its walls, the city will be entirely car free. Carefully planned public transportation will ensure that none of the city’s inhabitants will have to walk more than 200 meters before meeting some part of the transportation link. Included in the transportation system will be a network of shaded walkways and narrow streets, creating a pedestrian-friendly atmosphere for those who prefer to travel by foot. All of the transportation system is offset with the inclusion of personalized rapid transport, ensuring rapid transit within the city limits. Outside of the walls, the development of the city was strategically sited to link to Abu Dhabi’s principal transport infrastructure, the center hub of Abu Dhabi, and the international airport via the existing road infrastructure and new public rail routes.
Along with the carefully planned intersection of transportation is the conscientious incorporation of wind, photovoltaic farms, research fields, and plantations, allowing for the Masdar to be entirely self-sustaining.
Even the development phase of Masdar has been made sustainable through a two-step phasing process, the first of which is dependent on the development of a large photovoltaic power plant which will later become the site for the second of the city’s phases, encouraging urban growth while avoiding low density sprawl.
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