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Planning for an Eco-Friendly City in the Desert

Building a new eco-friendly city in the middle of a country so reliant on fossil fuels is no easy task, but development is well underway for Masdr City to rise in the UAE
June 6, 2016, 6am PDT | jwilliams | @jwillia22
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Kyle Taylor

Located near Abu Dhabi's airport, along it's southern edge, and just a 45-minute drive from Dubai, Masdr City is set to rise over the next five years into what could become a model for future development in the Middle East and elsewhere. Alan Mammoser reports in CNU's Public Square Journal that the Masdr company, a government development corporation of the UAE, has partnered with MIT on the planning for the new city, which will combine modern and traditional planning practices to create a sustainable city that utilizes street patterns to funnel cooler air, in the model of old-Cairo and Muscat.

As a city built on a grid that gathers natural breeze, linked internally and externally by transit, and with an educational institute at its center, Masdar will strive to be what planners call a complete community. “It will be a place where lifelong learning is possible,” says Chris Wan, “and where ongoing innovation will occur.” Wan, a Hong Kong native who studied architecture in Britain, is contributing to that now, with his participation in the development of an “Eco-Villa”. The prototype house, requiring 42% less energy than a typical new house in Abu Dhabi, will be a model for residential builders in the city. When equipped with solar panels it can achieve “net zero” energy consumption.
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Published on Wednesday, June 1, 2016 in Public Square
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