The world’s most sustainable eco city? Sounds a bit space age? Is it full of tree huggers?
Supposedly by 2016 (or 2025 – when is a city ever truly finished?), 50,000 people will live and work in Masdar City (built by Masdar, a subsidiary of Mubadala Development Company). The eight neighbourhood complex should be able to meet their energy needs from solar power stations, to move between their ‘intelligent-design’ houses in electrically powered cars, and to recycle all their household waste.
What’s the scientific boffin talk behind the concept?
The idea is to pioneer a greenprint for how cities can accommodate rapid urbanisation and dramatically reduce energy, water and waste. The city, which combines ancient Arabic architectural techniques with modern technology and captures prevailing winds is naturally cooler and more comfortable during the high summer temperatures. But the sun is also a blessing. Harnessing the sun’s rays, Masdar uses clean energy generated on site from rooftop solar technology and one of the largest photovoltaic installations in the Middle East.
Sounds a bit goody two-shoes, where can we let our hair down?
Besides the mall, and a couple of restaurant chains, the standout eatery is Jim’s Kitchen Table. This family friendly place is not only the newest café to open in Masdar City, but the winner of the Time Out Abu Dhabi Best Family Restaurant Award. This place is a favourite with mums and dads, while the kids are happy in the play area stocked with books and bean bags. The little ones can eat dishes such as Messy Mac & Cheese and Teddy Bear Toast and parents will appreciate the deli and bakery, which has local art lining the walls. For the health conscious, the simple yet extensive menu can easily be customised for those on a special diet and there’s even a protein shake bar. Open daily 7.30am-9pm. Jim’s Kitchen Table, Masdar City (02 491 9401).
And how much does it cost to be green?
$15 billion (Dhs $55 billion) – whch also has the same value of Snapchat, the photo sharing app that, no doubt, will be loaded with many selfies from Masdar.
Only in Masdar City
Drive Magnetic cars
Ordinarily, there is no way to escape the stress rash brought on by a particularly bad Abu Dhabi traffic jam. Petrol heads can get stuffed, Masdar City is a zero-carbon, car-free city and people can take a PRT (Personal Rapid Transit) which runs without a driver on a magnetic strip - a ghost train if you will.