Masdar City – The Solar Powered City

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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.”[33]

I think its a wonderful city and I hope it inspires other  eco-friendly projects.

Market OTB

Zizzle had a fabulous day out at Market OTB! Nestled amongst the skyscrapers in downtown Dubai, this little patch of serenity will have you feeling like you are in London or New York for the day. This park is frequented by local residents and the event makes for a nice family day out.

I enjoyed browsing the chic little boutiques such as West LA and Boom and Mellow and I loved that some online stores such as thehipster.com had physical pop up stores for 10 days of the event so you have the chance to actually see before you buy. The Market also has local eateries and coffee shops so you can grab a picnic table and take a break from the shopping. We relaxed by heading to the SOHDubai nail salon where their nailart is off the chain!! The talented artists transform your nails into a mini-canvas, I will be back to visit them in their Jumeirah salon for sure!

So far it all sounds very Dubai, chic boutiques, nails, coffee shops…however it is all designed with a green concept in mind, the shops are refurbished shipping containers and stalls made of recycled crates, the stage was jaw-dropping, from a distance it has a 70’s dancefloor vibe with the multicoloured flashing lights, however as you get up close you realise it is made from recycled water bottles! You can enjoy various performances and movie nights from the bean bags scattered around the stage.

I loved that they had a grafitti artist spraying one of the shops and a shiny cadillac which was also due to be sprayed entirely! The event just had a nice energy about it, something fresh and interesting while managing to please the Dubai crowd without being your typical “Dubai” event. It’s a lovely day out with friends and family, they even had a little fair for children with rides and games! Its on until the 24th January so free some space in your diaries to check it out!