Rendering of the future Masdar City from the air
|Country||United Arab Emirates|
|• Chairman||Dr Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber|
|• CEO||Mohamed Jameel Al Ramahi|
|• Total||6 km2 (2 sq mi)|
|Time zone||Arabian Standard Time (UTC+04)|
Masdar City (Arabic: مدينة مصدر, Madīnat Maṣdar) is a planned city project in Abu Dhabi, in the United Arab Emirates. Its core is being built by Masdar, a subsidiary of Mubadala Development Company, with the majority of seed capital provided by the Government of Abu Dhabi. Designed by the British architectural firm Foster and Partners, the city relies on solar energy and other renewable energy sources. Masdar City is being constructed 17 kilometres (11 mi) east-south-east of the city of Abu Dhabi, beside Abu Dhabi International Airport.
Masdar City hosts the headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency (IRENA). The city is designed to be a hub for cleantech companies. Its first tenant was the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, which has been operating in the city since it moved into its campus in September 2010.
Design and intent
The project is led by Masdar, a subsidiary of Mubadala Development Company. Initiated in 2006, the city was envisioned to cover 6 square kilometres (2.3 sq mi) and estimated to cost US$18-22 billion. 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 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, the initial 1,000,000 square metres (0.39 sq mi) was estimated for completion in 2015; final 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 designed, the city would be home to 45,000 to 50,000 people and 1,500 businesses, primarily commercial and manufacturing facilities specialising in environmentally friendly products. In turn, more than 60,000 workers are expected to commute to the city daily. As of 2016[update], fewer than 2,000 people are employed in Masdar, and only the 300 students of the Masdar Institute live on site.
Masdar City will be the latest of a small number of highly planned, specialized, research and technology-intensive municipalities that incorporate a living environment, similar to KAUST, Saudi Arabia or Tsukuba Science City, Japan.
Partners in the project through its Clean Tech Fund are Consensus Business Group, Credit Suisse and Siemens Venture Capital. Construction of the first phase of the project is being managed by CH2M Hill. Infrastructure construction for the city will be handled by the Al Jaber Group and design of the central Masdar headquarters building has been awarded to Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture. The city's wayfinding system was developed by Endpoint and City ID.
Masdar is a sustainable mixed-use development designed to be very friendly to pedestrians and cyclists.
Masdar City has terracotta walls decorated with arabesque patterns. From a distance, the city looks like a cube. The temperature in the streets is generally 15 to 20 °C (27 to 36 °F) cooler than the surrounding desert. The temperature difference is due to Masdar's unique construction. A 45-meter-high (148 ft) wind tower modeled on traditional Arab designs sucks air from above and pushes a cooling breeze through Masdar's streets. The site is raised above the surrounding land to create a slight cooling effect. Buildings are clustered close together to create streets and walkways shielded from the sun.
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 meters (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.
The initial design banned automobiles, as travel will be accomplished via public mass transit and personal rapid transit (PRT) systems, with existing road and railways connecting to other locations outside the city. The absence of motor vehicles coupled with Masdar's perimeter wall, designed to keep out the hot desert winds, allows for narrow and shaded streets that help funnel cooler breezes across the city. In October 2010 it was announced the PRT would not expand beyond the pilot scheme 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 a point-to-point transportation solution for the city as a complement to the PRT and the freight rapid transit (FRT), both of which consist of automated electric-powered vehicles.
Under a revised design, public transport within the city will rely on methods other than the PRTs. Masdar will instead use 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 and delayed light rail and metro line will connect Masdar City's centre with the greater metropolitan area.
Commercial tenants and population
The Masdar Institute of Science and Technology is a graduate-level research university focused on alternative energy, environmental sustainability, and clean technology. Its campus is located in Masdar City. The Masdar Institute was Masdar City's first occupant. The design of the campus emphasizes flexibility, the use of traditional architectural elements, and modern materials to provide for an optimized combination of natural lighting and cooling that minimize energy needs. By 2013, 336 students were enrolled at the institute. These students were selected from more than 2,000 applicants. 42% of enrolled students are from the UAE and 35% are female. The Masdar Institute plans to eventually enroll about 800 students. Admitted students from all countries are offered a full-tuition scholarships, monthly stipends, travel expenses, laptop computers, textbooks, and accommodation in order to facilitate their studies. Masdar students and faculty are engaged in over 300 joint projects with academia, private enterprise, and government agencies. Their research tends to focus on renewable energy, smart grids and smart buildings, energy policy and planning, water consumption, environmental engineering, and electronics.
The Masdar Institute has been behind the engineering plans of Masdar City and is at the center of research and development activities. The institute's building, developed in cooperation with the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, uses 51% less electricity and 54% 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
Masdar City will host the headquarters of the International Renewable Energy Agency, commonly known as IRENA. As of May 2013[update], construction of IRENA's headquarters was underway. 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.
A regional headquarters for Siemens has been built in Masdar City. This building is the most energy efficient in all of Abu Dhabi. In 2014, more than 800 staff will start work there. The LEED Platinum building makes use of sustainable and energy efficient materials and building techniques. It was designed to use 45 percent less energy and 50 percent less water than typical office buildings. The Siemens headquarters won an award for best office building at the Mpim 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 m2 (130,000 sq ft) 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 aluminium 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 buildings structure, cooling public spaces without energy costs. These atria also allow daylight into the centre of the building in order to reduce the need for artificial lighting, further reducing energy consumption. The buildings automation systems are all from Siemens.
Siemens signed an initial ten-year lease.
The Incubator Building includes retail and office space to house start-ups, small-and-medium-sized enterprises, and regional offices for multinationals. The Incubator Building is designed to accommodate roughly fifty companies. Some of the most notable tenants include General Electric, Mitsubishi, Schneider Electric, and the Global Green Growth Institute. The Incubator Building is also home to the first LEED CI-certified office in Abu Dhabi, Alpin Limited.
The Incubator Building houses the General Electric Ecomagination Center. The center offers training and exhibitions on energy and water efficiency.
The original master plan envisioned a city functioning on its own grid with full carbon neutrality. However, the development was later hooked into the public system, and by 2016 its managers determined that the city would never reach net-zero carbon levels.
Masdar is powered by a 22-hectare (54-acre) field of 87,777 solar panels with additional panels on roofs.
There are no light switches or water taps in the city; movement sensors control lighting and water to cut electricity and water consumption by 51 and 55 percent respectively. 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 realise 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 has been working with other companies to engineer surfaces with pores smaller than sand particles to stop them from sticking on the panels. Scientists at the Masdar Institute are also working on coatings that repel sand and bacteria for use on solar panels and in other applications.
Besides photovoltaics, concentrated solar power (CSP) plants are being explored. For example, so-called "beam down" CSP plants have been constructed to test the viability of use in the city.
Water management has been planned in an environmentally sound manner as well. Approximately 80 percent of the water used will be recycled and waste water will be reused "as many times as possible", with this 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 response to the project's commitment to zero carbon, zero waste and other environmentally friendly goals, WWF and BioRegional have endorsed Masdar City as an official One Planet Living Community.
The project is also supported by Greenpeace, which, however, stresses that there should be more focus on retrofitting existing cities to make them more sustainable rather than constructing new zero-carbon cities from scratch.
The US Government has supported the project. The US Department of Energy has signed a partnership agreement with the Masdar Group in a deal that will see the two organisations share expertise to support plans on zero-carbon cities.
Not all reaction to the project has been favorable. 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.
Some skeptics are concerned that the city will be only symbolic for Abu Dhabi, and that it may become just a luxury development for the wealthy. Nicolai Ouroussoff opined in The New York Times that Masdar is the culmination of the gated community concept: "the crystallization of another global phenomenon: the growing division of the world into refined, high-end enclaves and vast formless ghettos where issues like sustainability have little immediate relevance".
- 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 28 July 2012.
- Hope, Bradley; Stanton, Christopher (9 February 2009). "Al Jaber secures Masdar deal". The National. Archived from the original on 13 December 2009.
- "Starting from scratch". The Economist. 7 September 2013. Retrieved 8 September 2013.
- Walsh, Bryan (25 January 2011). "Masdar City: The World's Greenest City?". Time. Retrieved 8 September 2013.
- Al Lawati, Abbas (29 June 2009). "UAE to host Irena HQ". Gulfnews.com. Archived from the original on 28 July 2012.
- Lawton, Michael (29 June 2009). "Renewable energy agency to call United Arab Emirates home". Deutsche Welle. Archived from the original on 28 July 2012.
- Atef, Meray (23 October 2010). "Inauguration Of Masdar Institute Campus At Masdar City Underscores Abu Dhabi's Commitment To Build A Knowledge-Based Economy" (Press release). Masdar Institute of Science and Technology. Archived from the original on 28 July 2012.
- "Fast Facts". Masdar Institute of Science and Technology. Retrieved 20 March 2012.
- "MIT, Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company sign cooperative agreement". MIT.com News Office. 26 February 2007. Retrieved 10 May 2008.
- "About Us". Masdar.ae. Retrieved 20 March 2012.
- "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.
- 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.
- Dilworth, Dianna (August 2007). "Zero Carbon; Zero Waste in Abu Dhabi". BusinessWeek. Archived from the original on 28 July 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 28 July 2012.
- "Masdar Partners". MasdarCTF.com. Archived from the original on 9 June 2009.
- "Masdar HQ to be Located in World's First "Positive Energy" Mixed-Use Building" (Press release). Masdar.ae. 20 February 2008. Retrieved 28 July 2009.
- Billings, Scott (27 January 2011). "Pointers for the future". Design Week. Retrieved 28 February 2014.
- "Masdar City -- Does It Have A Bright Future?". CleanTechnica. Retrieved 6 July 2015.
- "Masdar Institute, Abu Dhabi".
- Palca, Joe (6 May 2008). "Abu Dhabi Aims to Build First Carbon-Neutral City". National Public Radio. Retrieved 10 May 2008.
- "Why Has Masdar Personal Rapid Transit (PRT) Been Scaled Back?". PRTConsulting.com. 16 October 2010. Retrieved 12 September 2013.
- "Masdar Launches Electric-Vehicle Pilot" (Press release). Mitsubishi Heavy Industries. 27 January 2011. Retrieved 14 July 2012.
- "Sustainability and the City: Transportation". Masdarcity.ae. 2011. Retrieved 12 September 2013.
- Golden, Lara Lynn, ed. (17 October 2007). "Masdar selects CH2M Hill to manage the development of the world's first fully sustainable 'Green Community'" (Press release). AME Info. Archived from the original on 4 October 2012.
- "Masdar Institute / Foster + Partners". Arch Daily. 23 November 2010. Retrieved 4 March 2015.
- 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.
- Moran, Esraa (12 March 2015). "Masdar City's Alpin Limited earns first LEED Gold Certification". WAM.
- 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.
- "Masdar City: New Urban Energy Future and Climate Change Solution?". Breaking Energy. Retrieved 6 July 2015.
- Prior, Brett (25 January 2011). "Masdar Visit: Solar Projects in Abu Dhabi". Greentechmedia.com. Archived from the original on 8 January 2013.
- Ammari, Siba Sami (14 January 2010). "Masdar begins research and development phase for new solar tower 'beam down' facility" (Press release). AMEinfo.com. Archived from the original on 8 January 2013.
- Laylin, Tafline (10 February 2011). "Pacific Green Inaugurates Masdar City's Sustainable Palm Gates". Green Prophet. Retrieved 4 August 2011.
- "WWF, Abu Dhabi unveil plan for world's first carbon-neutral, waste-free, car-free city" (Press release). World Wildlife Fund via Panda.org. 13 January 2008. Archived from the original on 28 July 2012.
- "One Planet Living: United Arab Emirates Endorsed Community - Masdar City" (Press release). BioRegional.com. 8 January 2008. Archived from the original on 17 May 2008.
- Ling, Jamie; Pearson, Ben (26 April 2012). "How do we make green megacities?". Greenpeace. Retrieved 28 July 2012.
- 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.
- Ouroussoff, Nicholai (26 September 2010). "In Arabian Desert, a Sustainable City Rises". The New York Times. p. A1. Archived from the original on 5 February 2013.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Masdar.|