City of the Future?

A zero carbon, zero waste, car-free city is what developers in Abu Dhabi have announced they will build. Masdar City, the “city of the future” is to be completed in 8 years, with a price tag of 22 billion dollars. When completed, it is supposed to achieve a population of 50,000, and be completely self sufficient while producing no carbon emissions. Water is to come from a solar powered desalinization plant, power from a photo-voltaic power plant, air conditioning from natural “wind towers”, and waste water is to be filtered and put back into the city for growing biofuel. Transportation? A fully automated electric personal transit system and monorail.

Naturally there are alot of questions and hopes and fears involved with the project. Will it really produce zero cabon emissions? What happens once the city goes past 50,000 inhabitants? Can plans to shield the city from neighboring Abu Dhabi airport and Abu Dhabi itself really work? What about emergency services, how will they get around the city quickly without vehicles?

The building has begun, so as the old saying goes – we shall see.

Below you can watch a very professionally produced public relations video about the project. Note the very noble sounding voiceover and fascinating sci-fi images. At the very end of the film the narrator declares that “one day all cities will be built like this.” To which I have to defiantly ask, have they ever been to Baltimore?