Sunday, February 6, 2011

Masdar City

While going through an article on Yahoo about the world's most visionary cities, I came across a project being built in Abu Dhabi (United Arab Emeries) named Masdar City. Yahoo described it as:

"Eco-warriors, meet Mecca: once completed, Masdar City promises to be the world's most sustainable urban locale. The city will be powered by solar and wind energy; recycle the majority of its wastewater; and try to reduce its waste to zero via unorthodox methods such as transforming biological waste into soil and fertilizer. A perimeter wall surrounding Masdar will keep desert winds at bay, while shaded streets combat the blazing sun. As for gas-guzzling cars, they're eighty-sixed from city limits (electric vehicles are allowed), replaced by mass transit and pod-like vehicles that travel underground. Some systems are already operational, but the city will come online fully in approximately 2020."

The city was supposed to be done in 2009 but due to financial reasons and advancements in environmental technology they've now been able to fully finance the project and save around $2 billion. The complete project is supposed to cost an estimated $17-19 billion. They anticipate being able to house 40,000- 50,000 people and to also have multiple corporations headquartered inside (some who will focus on manufacturing and engineering new environmental technologies). Some people are saying that Masdar City has the potential to be the metropolis of the future and can end up being the first of many fully sustainable cities being built. 

As i continue learning more and more about Masdar City and other sustainability projects going on throughout the world I find myself wondering a few things...

-Why hasn't the U.S. done something as extreme as Masdar City or at least begun to push the limits in sustainability? 

We have all of the resources to complete a project of this magnitude and to even take it a step further. As being the leader in energy usage, shouldn't we also be focusing on being the leader in creating new energy to help sustain us in the future when our current resources deplete? 

-What type of people should be allowed to live in this city? Can anyone live here or if the demand is high enough could the government only allow certain people in? 

While I think this is a great idea and wish that I could see our own country attempt something like this, I feel the people could become either a major downfall or success for the project. They plan on having a university inside which I think is a great idea because it will provide the city with young, eager to learn, and ambitious people. Besides the university however, I was unable to find anything else that would point to putting the right type of people in the city. I personally believe that the "right" type of person for this city would ultimately be someone who buys into the project. While it can be argued that only leaders, people of a certain intelligence, or "ideal" individuals should be allowed in, I think that the power of leading by example is the best chance for success. If everyone in the city is bought into the project's goal, it will lead to people doing what they're supposed to do in the city and leading by example to the one's who don't buy in or who hurt the project's success.  

-Would you support the same type of city being built in the U.S.? If so where do you think the ideal place for it would be and who should inhabit it? 

Daniel Salsinger 


  1. I believe that you have found a great article that is very suitable to our main focus. I believe that it brings up a subject that quite frankly, not enough Americans are thinking about.

    I believe that many Americans would support the building of this type of city within the United States however, there would be many factors that may have an effect on the city itself. For instance, a city that unique would undoubtedly attract tourism. Obviously, tourism would inevitably create profits to help the city lose some of the massive amount of debts from building it, however the excessive tourism may hurt the purity of such a city.

    To continue on the subject of building this type of city within the United States, one needs to ask of the difficulties that would arise in gaining approval in establishing the laws that would be required to sustain such a city, i.e. the no gas powered automobiles.

    Does anyone have any opinions or insights on how to effectively establish this type of city in such a diverse environment as the United States?

  2. While referring to candidate inhabitants of the city you are focused on ones "buying into the project", which would only mean they are investing into it but does not guarantee that it would follow my desired moral decisions. Your statement suggests that this should be open only to persons of power (most likely government-related), but it must be considered that different people may have different incentives to be a part of this community. While most would be environmentally support-based intentions, others may arise for the purpose of simply attaining the exclusive status or taking advantage of the righteous label that it would provide the person or company for taking part in it. Considering the amount of money it takes to keep a city as this running, obviously only fortunate enough ones would only be able to consider merging to such lifestyle, therefore I am really interested to see how the selection process will be developed.
    Thinking of America as the leader of the world makes you question the lack of innovativeness and involvement concerning projects as this. While I support the idea, I do not believe that it could handle the controversial chaos that it would create due to so many Americans still blissfully ignorant in regards to the serious environmental issues we are facing. There is an overwhelming amount of people more concerned with now while choosing to ignore potential great dangers in the future and are reluctant to give up a penny if the problem does not personally concern them today. I do not believe it would succeed in America, especially during current economic state even though it is imperative to make those steps sooner than later.

    -Mingaile Orakauskaite

  3. Mingaile- I meant people who "buy in" as in people who support the project and it's success. Sorry for the confusion I should have worded that differently.

    I'm more of interested to know what type of people should be put into a city like this? Who should be in charge? What types of traits and skills do you think would be necessary for the cities inhabitants. If a country was investing so much land and money into something like this I would think they would want the best people in there in terms of providing towards the projects success.

    Also, I feel a city like this would require some type of leader? This situation would be heavily scrutinized by not only the country but potentially the entire world as they watch to see how the project goes. What type of traits and skills should this lead be possessing?

    -Daniel Salsinger