I saw Masdar City on a documentary in England a few years ago and I thought it was amazing and have been wanting to go there since. The entire city, south of Abu Dhabi, is powered by 87,777 solar panels as well as solar panels on streets and roofs. It is completely carbon free meaning cars cannot enter, they have their own personal rapid transport which consists of Mitsubishi i-MiEV electric cars.
The cars were my highlight, I got in and I felt like I was in the future, they drive themselves, you just sit back and press the computer screen inside to tell the car when to leave. They are these small pod looking cars and seat four people, these cars were deployed as part of a one-year pilot scheme however they will not be making it the only mode of transport as it won’t be viable. Instead they will use other electric vehicles and clean energy vehicles. You can drive your car to the car parks around the city or get the metro or light-rail but within the city you can only use the PRT’s and other carbon free vehicles.
I found it amazing that when we walked into the city from the car park it suddenly became colder. I found out this is another system they have created using natural resources. The city looks like a giant cube from a distance, the terracotta walls help to keep the city cool, it is 15 – 20 degrees cooler then the surrounding desert. This is due to a 45 metre high wind tunnel which sucks cool air from above and pushes it through Masdars streets. The fact that the city is elevated and buildings are huddled together allows walkways to be shielded by the sun.
Masdar doesn’t have a single light switch and there are no taps either, everything has movement sensors to cut electricity and water consumption. The lead architect Gerard Evenden said,
“When we started this project, nobody had really looked at doing projects of this scale. Then you realise it’s much more efficient to build your solar field on the ground in the middle of the desert. You can send a man to brush them off every day, rather than having to access everyone’s buildings individually, and you can make sure that they are running at their absolute peak. It’s much better than putting them on every building in the city.”
I think its a wonderful city and I hope it inspires other eco-friendly projects.