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Trouble in Masdar City

Kiran Stacy looks at some of the challenges facing what is intended to be the world's first carbon-neutral city.
November 4, 2010, 11am PDT | Lynn Vande Stouwe
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In an interview with Masdar City Director Alan Frost and CEO Sultan al-Jaber, Stacy learns that the city's plans to be self-sufficient from the outset--both energy-wise and financially--may have been overly ambitious, given the regional economic climate. Bank financing for new development in Abu Dhabi is non-existent and commercial tenants are hesitant to move into new commercial space, forcing the project to rely heavily on government funding, writes Stacy. Masdar has only signed 13 of the 800 commercial tenants it hopes to attract by 2020. Furthermore, the city is still taking some of its energy from non-renewable sources.

Given the innovative nature of the project, difficulties should be expected, says Sultan al-Jaber:

"Do you think that a silver bullet solution exists to help Masdar city achieve its goals today? Obviously it does not. If it did we would have seen Masdar city developed in a number of places around the world."

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Published on Wednesday, October 27, 2010 in Financial Times
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