Masdar City Project and its criticisms: a complete failure?

Masdar City is  a very famous living project in United Arab  Emirates, which has been brought back into global discussion because it looks like it is empty and  then its validity as global foremost model of urban sustainability is under pressure.

What is Masdar City.
Masdar city is a perfect example of Private and Public Partnership when it comes to experimenting new models of sustainability.
The project started almost ten years ago: Abu Dhabi invested in what should  have been “the world’s most sustainable city”, and in collaboration with Foster (a well know British architectural firm)  and Mubadara Investment Company, the Masdar City Project came to life, together with its homonym company (which, by the way, functions also as consulting  company).
Everybody was excited: first of all the message was not only “green and carbon-free is good”, but also it meant that one the world’s richest countries, with unsustainable luxurious lifestyle, was aiming at a sweet sweet sweet change.
What’s more, is that Masdar would have been completely built out of scratch: this rarely applicable when it comes to social experiments and to urbanistics. Then Masdar is one of  the worlds few examples of open air urban lab .

Indeed energy consumption in UAE has been increasing in the last years, and a report published by KPMG stresses the fact that UAE is providing its country with sustainable regulations in order to enhance a sustainable lifestyle . In such a way, while population is allowed to expand and  keep a livelihood, their consumption would be hampered by insulation , conservative measures and sustainable architecture.
In this framework, Masdar projects assumes even a stronger value since global warming related projections figure some positive trends in terms of desertification and therefore such experiment would provide useful insights for probable scenarios.

The situation, now

First, critics lament that the city is now empty. There are 250 permanent residents, who are the students of the local University. Then there are commuters working at the project itself or its sister companies, such as IRENA or Siemens.
Secondly, due to the economic crisis Masdar has also been re-dimensioned. The new objective has been reframed from “zero-carbon society” into a  “low –carbon “ one ashamedly.

Thirdly, a big criticisms lies in the transportation system, which is claimed to be perfectly sustainable and electrified PRD driverless pods. However, this system  is apparently not working  that fine since it is not connecting peripheral spots, which are actually pivotal for commuters.

In conclusion,

What do you think of such experimental trial?
Steamgreen thinks that, notwithstanding the imperfections, still it is important that attempts are existing  and one has to keep in mind that flexibility plays an important role when it  comes to sustainability, which is really context-depending concept.

Go green 🙂

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