Foster and Partner's carbon-neutral Masdar City is springing to life in Abu Dhabi, and we recently had a chance to take a first-hand look inside this ambitious sustainable development! Just last Friday we checked out the city's first eco street fair and Organic Market -- a family affair complete with cotton candy, clowns, and princess fairies that also gave locals and visitors their first glimpse of some of the world’s most advanced architectural and cleantech developments. It also gave eco-businesses and organizations, such as the Land Art Generator Initiative, an opportunity to strut their good green stuff - read on for a first look!
The Market @ Masdar kicked off at 10am on Friday. After parking their lowly fossil-fueled vehicles in the entrance parking lot, visitors rode driverless pod cars through a rather dull (but prefabricated and low impact concrete lot) to what will be the center of a more complete, future Masdar City. Each pod car holds four people and are guided by magnetic strips placed every two meters in the concrete “roads.”
Inside the square, surrounded by Masdar’s signature, futuristic buildings, a variety of businesses showed off their recycled products, fair trade jewelry, and organic food, while organizations such as the Abu Dhabi Environment Agency discussed important environmental issues such as plastic pollution. Heavy on meat dishes common to the region, the cafeteria offered scant vegetarian options, but products available at the organic food store and Mazaraa farm filled in the gaps.
Although well-attended, all was not smooth. Only one set of bathrooms was available for the throng, Mazaraa organic farm nearly cooked their ducks and goats alive in the roaring sun, and visitors had to line up for a solid 20-30 minutes in order to ride the pod cars back to their own. Given that the Masdar Market comprised the first large influx of people, these hiccups were to be expected and organizers have until September, or the next street fair, to fix them.
Photos by Tafline Laylin for Inhabitat