Masdar: UAE's Green Revenge
JRM2 02 - 14 - 2010

While in Abu Dabi, Dan (our BSU alumni and guide) took us to the site of Masdar. Masdar is a planned city that is on a small controlled plot of land provided to prove a point to the world. That point is that the UAE can be green too. Reports came out saying that the UAE had the worst ecological footprints of all nations tested. This means if everyone lived in the UAE we would have to have upwards of three earths of resources. The UAE and its rulers were not too pleased with the results. This is one of the main reasons Masdar has been planned and is being built as you read this. The idea is pretty simple. Create a community in the desert that will be able to sustain itself. From energy, transportation, water, living, community, and agriculture, Masdar will supposedly be self sustaining in all ways. There are many restrictions in place that keep the master plan in check and so that all classes of people will live and work in this utopia. A rail line is proposed to go through the site and connect to the main rail stations in Abu Dabi and Dubai. The colored picture its a representation of the master plan and zoning of Masdar. The area around the squares is for activities, gardens, and agricultural gardens. The small dots around the exterior are parking garages for people who live outside of Masdar and commute to the city for work. They would then take underground public transportation or walk to the building in Masdar they want to go to. There many layers and great ideas being poured into Masdar by architects (including Adrien Smith, the architect of the Burj Dubai) but there are some issues with UAE's society and the way the city will have to function to be a completely sustainable utopia. The UAE is completely ruled by the automobile, even more than the USA. Even With all of the great oppertunities that Dubai and Abu Dabi had to strat from scratch, everything is sprawled out so that the only walkable places are the malls (there are many). This mind set may cause some problems trying to get people to live in Masdar instead of just commuting to it like another office park. The total opposite could happen as well just like Seaside Florida. It was ment for all classes of people but so many people want to live there that only the rich find a way and it becomes more of a resort or tourist attraction. You could also argue that the UAE is using a great amount of energy to build this city far from the rest of Abu DAbi, but since there is so much development that is not regulated I appreciate the effort and values are being put forth. Is this the right way for the UAE to display being sustainable? In my opinion, no. If the UAE was really concerned as a whole about being sustainable, strict regualations and building requirements would be enforced so that the both Abu Dabi and Dubai would grow more compact and green from now on, but this is almost laughable because Dabai and the UAE are symbols of excess in the built environment.

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