What’s happening in the middle of Abu Dhabi’s desert in United Arab Emirates? A whole new city in the form of a cube is emerging built on the principle of sustainability. Masdar city, which in Arabic means source, will be finished by 2025 and will be completely powered on renewable energy.
The whole city plan rethinks approaches to sustainable architecture and urbanism. Behind the design of the city is the British architectural firm Foster and Partners and its urbanism plan which is incorporating principles of traditional Arab architecture. Solar radiation in the streets is minimized by narrowing them which provides a lot of shade, while natural ventilation is regulated by traditional architectural elements- wind towers. Accordingly average temperature in the streets are 15 to 20 °C (27 to 36 °F) cooler than the surrounding desert. Fasades are mostly made of terracotta decorated with arabesque patterns or covered with solar panels.
To cut emissions, public transportation within the city will rely on electric vehicles and other clean-energy vehicles, among which is a personal rapid transit (PRT) systems. Also, Masdar city is planed to be friendly to pedestrians and cyclist. There are still some problems to be solved, as blowing sand can stick on solar panels, and a more effective water management system. Still this visionary plan is an impressive example of sustainable building.