CleanTechnica is the #1 cleantech-focused
website
 in the world. Subscribe today!


Buildings Masdar City Mitsubishi i electric vehicles

Published on March 20th, 2013 | by Zachary Shahan

2

Masdar City — Does It Have A Bright Future?

Share on Google+Share on RedditShare on StumbleUponTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on FacebookPin on PinterestDigg thisShare on TumblrBuffer this pageEmail this to someone

March 20th, 2013 by Zachary Shahan 

As I noted in my long article about Masdar, Masdar City is clearly the most well known arm of the company. The ambitiously green city is of course at a very early stage of its development, and I know that many have skeptically postulated that it’s never going to be built (or at least not as the super green city it is supposed to be). After visiting the first phase of the city, talking with key people there, and learning more about Masdar itself (as well as having the city planning background I have), I have to say that I think the skepticism is bunk. I’ll tackle that a bit more below, and also feature a few of the cool components of Masdar City that are already in place.

A Masdar City courtyard in the middle of the first residences. Credit: Zachary Shahan.

A Masdar City courtyard in the middle of the first residences. Credit: Zachary Shahan.

Another Masdar City courtyard, this one with a wind tower that helps to cool the area. Credit: Zachary Shahan.

Another Masdar City courtyard, this one with a wind tower that helps to cool the surrounding area. Credit: Zachary Shahan.

As noted above, and as is obvious from the pictures in this article, some of the city is already built and in use — it’s far from being the city of 40,000 that is eventually intended, but cities aren’t built in a day.

Some excellent research facilities are already in place and being used by cleantech and health researchers. A Siemens office building is currently being completed. And GE is also supposed to move into offices in the city soon. And residences for Masdar Institute researchers and students are in full use. A 10 MW solar PV farm is also already in place (see the pics below).

Masdar City 10 MW solar power plant up close. Credit: Marika Krakowiak / ZacharyShahan.com.

Masdar City 10 MW solar power plant up close. Credit: Marika Krakowiak / ZacharyShahan.com.

Masdar City solar power plant. Credit: Marika Krakowiak / ZacharyShahan.com.

Masdar City solar power plant very close up. No pollution to worry about. Credit: Marika Krakowiak / ZacharyShahan.com.

Masdar City 10 MW solar power plant and CleanTechnica correspondent Marika Krakowiak. Credit: Zachary Shahan.

Masdar City 10 MW solar power plant and CleanTechnica correspondent Marika Krakowiak. Credit: Zachary Shahan.

A Masdar Institute lab in Masdar City. Credit: Zachary Shahan.

A Masdar Institute lab in Masdar City. Credit: Zachary Shahan.

Another Masdar City apartment building with solar panels on top. Credit: Zachary Shahan.

Another Masdar City apartment building with solar panels on top. Credit: Zachary Shahan.

Overall, from the talks I had with Masdar City employees, the approach to development seems logical. Counter to what many probably think, the city is to develop somewhat organically over time, using a market-driven approach. It is not being developed in ignorance of the local real estate market, but is to be a natural result of both that market and intelligent planning.

And this is precisely why Masdar City has developed a bit more slowly than was originally anticipated. As everyone knows, there was a large global downturn in the economy 4–5 years ago, which we are still climbing out of. Real estate markets, especially high-end real estate markets (as this is) were particularly hurt. But if there’s one thing about the real estate market that everyone should know, it’s that it goes through hills and valleys of investment and growth. The UAE is a particularly attractive country for investment and growth, and I think it’s beyond skeptical to assume that Masdar City will never be fully developed.

Mitsubishi i electric cars at Masdar City 10 MW solar power plant. Credit: Marika Krakowiak / ZacharyShahan.com.

Mitsubishi i electric cars at Masdar City 10 MW solar power plant. Credit: Marika Krakowiak / ZacharyShahan.com.

Masdar City Mitsubishi i electric cars. Credit: Zachary Shahan.

Masdar City Mitsubishi i electric cars. The full line on the back of the cars is: “This car runs on electricity produced by solar power at Masdar City.” Credit: Zachary Shahan.

Masdar City personal mobility vehicle. Credit: Zachary Shahan.

CleanTechnica correspondent Marika Krakowiak in a Masdar City personal mobility vehicle. Credit: Zachary Shahan.

I’ll just touch on one final point about the city (for now, at least). The city is aimed at being a highly pedestrian- and bicycle-friendly city with mixed use development and energy efficient design. Such communities are highly appealing to people. While such planning is the ideal of most city planners these days (certainly the good ones), antiquated zoning laws and other obstacles to smart development mean than a lot of development still goes forward in a less than intelligent way, resulting in less appealing communities. One of the biggest criticisms of communities and cities like Masdar City is that they are too expensive, not accessible to less affluent citizens. But there’s a reason for that — these communities and cities are so well designed and so attractive that they are in high demand. That high demand raises their prices. And that just reiterates my point — residences and commercial properties in this city will be in very high demand… once the market picks up.

Did this article trigger some thoughts? Or have some more info to add? Chime in below.

For another interesting story on Masdar City, I’d recommend an article that one of my colleagues recently published on the German site DW: Masdar eco-city rebounds after setbacks.

For more on Masdar as a whole (which goes way beyond Masdar City), check out: What Is Masdar?

For more content from CleanTechnica’s trip to Abu Dhabi, check out our archive pages for Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week, the World Future Energy Summit, and/or the International Renewable Energy Conference.

Full Disclosure: my trip to Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week was funded by Masdar. That said, I was completely free to cover what I wanted throughout the week, and at no point did I feel under pressure to cover any specific events or Masdar in any particular way.

Keep up to date with all the hottest cleantech news by subscribing to our (free) cleantech newsletter, or keep an eye on sector-specific news by getting our (also free) solar energy newsletter, electric vehicle newsletter, or wind energy newsletter.

Share on Google+Share on RedditShare on StumbleUponTweet about this on TwitterShare on LinkedInShare on FacebookPin on PinterestDigg thisShare on TumblrBuffer this pageEmail this to someone

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


About the Author

spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as the director/chief editor. Otherwise, he's probably enthusiastically fulfilling his duties as the director/editor of Solar Love, EV Obsession, Planetsave, or Bikocity. Zach is recognized globally as a solar energy, electric car, and wind energy expert. If you would like him to speak at a related conference or event, connect with him via social media. You can connect with Zach on any popular social networking site you like. Links to all of his main social media profiles are on ZacharyShahan.com.



  • sasboy

    The UAE just inaugurated one of the world’s largest solar power stations, and had abundant solar and financial resources. Install solar panels on all the buildings in Dubai and Abu Dhabi and watch the country transform from a high carbon economy to a low carbon one.
    The same formula, with some variations, can be transplanted across the world, and the region.

  • tibi stibi

    nice to see a full concept

Back to Top ↑