All in all, the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have the largest ecological footprint in the world. This is because of the massive oil production taking place there as well as the massive infrastructure and building projects from the last 15 years. Knowing that their “black gold” won’t last forever and people are moving more and more away from it, the people from UAE have decided to build the first ever, completely zero carbon, zero waste city called Masdar.
For starters, it will be mostly powered by a 88,000 solar panel farm, located at the outskirts of the city. All light switches and water taps are automated across the city in order to minimize consumption as much as possible. Moreover, architects in charge of building Masdar have intensively studied ancient settlements in order to better understand and apply techniques used back then. This way they surrounded the city with walls and raised the entire foundation by 23 feet, together with 150 foot towers scattered around the city, have lowered the average temperature by around 20 degrees. Even the buildings themselves are spaced closer together which allow for air to flow much better, offering a cool breeze and shade throughout Masdar. To keep a cultural design, all buildings have a Arabic-style architecture.
Cars are forbidden within the city walls and all visitors and commuters have to park their vehicles outside. For transport Masdar will offer a completely automated network of driverless electric cars which ferry people from place to place. This way the city has no need for conventional streets with car lanes. There’s also a light rail system above-ground, helping people get around.
When completed, Masdar will be a permanent home for 40,000 people and offer jobs for another 50,000 commuters. The whole purpose behind this “experimental city” is to be a central hub for renewable energy around the globe. Today, the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology occupies one of the first complete buildings. The German engineering company Siemens has also placed its Middle Eastern headquarters there, as has IRENA (International Renewable Energy Agency).