How A City In The Desert Is Leading In Innovation and Sustainability

By Sadie Archibald
on 20 May 2024

How could a city located in some of the harshest conditions on our planet be pioneering a sustainable way of life? Masdar city or sometimes referred to as “the city of tomorrow” is located in the desert in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. Not only is it conceived with the vision of becoming a global hub for sustainable technology and innovation but it is paving the way forward with its ambitious urban development projects that focus on sustainability and renewable energy. Here are some of the features that makes this city so special.

Sustainable Design

Whilst the ever-evolving technology is helping with sustainability, a lot of it is the related back to clever design. The city’s design integrates with its environment to maximize energy and water-efficiency and all the gathering places, parks, landscaping, transportation are designed to deal with the deserts harsh climate. For example, one of the main downtown areas is raised on a seven-meter podium and angled to channel the desert winds through the shaded streets to make the streets cooler and more comfortable for residents. Some other impressive design features of the city includes passive cooling, natural ventilation, and high-performance insulation. As windows in buildings are also are oriented to minimize direct sunlight while maximizing natural light helping to reduce the need for air conditioning. Not only is the design environmental friendly, but a sense of community spirit is amplified by the shaded walkways pedestrian friendly streets and green spaces.

Renewable Energy and Sustainable Materials

It is a no-brainer that the use of renewable energy is a huge focus of Masdar. The cities commitment to renewable energy is unwavering, extensively using solar power throughout the city. Both solar panels and solar farms that surrounding the city help to help power it and reduce its reliance on fossil fuels. The city also uses lots of sustainable materials through its design such as low carbon concrete, recycled and sustainable sourced timber and steel bars are made with recycled scrap.

Zero-Carbon Initiative

One of the most impressive aspects of this city is its aim to completely minimize greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Both by the city’s innovative design, it is reducing energy and water demand in its built environment and utilising more renewable energy, and offsetting carbon emissions. The city even has changed its transportation system so that transportation is more shared, electric, and autonomous.

The research and innovation of this city is unmatched highly due to the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology which is a a graduate-level research university focused on sustainable technologies and alternative energy. The city is emphasising immensely that not only is sustainability a choice, but now can also be a way of life.

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