Norman Foster’s Masdar City is poised to become world’s most sustainable, zero-waste, car-free, carbon neutral city. The model for the city was formally unveiled on 21st January at the World Future Energy Summit in Abu Dhabi. We’ve talked about the grand scheme before, but the official debut deserves some new attention, given its viewing and support from everyone from General Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi to the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company and even President George W. Bush. The construction would start the next month, and the city is likely to open in late 2009.

The city, to be built on an area of six square kilometers on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi, has been designed by British architect Lord Foster (Foster and Partners). The city would be walled on all sides, and house 50,000 people and 1,500 businesses. The electricity for the entire city would be generated by solar energy harnessed by photovoltaic panels. To start with, a large solar power station would be built that would meet the energy requirements during the construction of the city, while buildings would be cooled by wind towers.

As for site planning, the city would be oriented north-east to south-west to ensure optimum balance of sunlight and shade. There would be no cars zooming around the city, with residents getting to and from via trains and automated transport pods. Three levels for movement for the city would include a light railway between Masdar to Abu Dhabi, a second level for pedestrians, and a third for “personalized rapid transport pods.” The public transportation has been so planned that none of the city’s inhabitants will be more than 200 meters from the nearest public transportation link. Systems would encourage reuse and minimal resources, with 99% of the waste generated in the city getting reused, or composted, and all waste water would be reused as well, with solar energy desalination systems.

In Arabic, Masdar means “the source”, and the Masdar Initiative aims to become the leading source of the world’s future energy solutions. We’ll keep you posted on the progress of the construction!

+ Foster and Partners