Bright example of how to create sustainable urban communities – Masdar City

This modern sustainable city located in Abu Dhabi, beside International airport in United Arab Emirates (UAE) caught my attention long time ago with it’s contemporary intelligent urban planning consisted of superb architecture, usage of solar and renewable energy and leading edge technology although I haven’t had a chance to visit yet and see it with my eyes.

The meaning of Masdar is Source in Arabic. 

This shining example of sustainable urban communities with low-carbon emission, growing clean-tech cluster, business free zone and residential areas with cafes, restaurants, shops and public green spaces is based on social, economic and environmental sustainability pillars, directly contributing to United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG’s) Goal 11 Sustainable cities and communities.

UN set SDG’s as a blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all and Goal 11 addresses cities to be inclusive, safe, resilient and sustainable.

Why building sustainable resilient cities is urgent and our solution ?

Well for start with high concentration of people, infrastructure, construction and business activities, cities are particularly vulnerable to climate change causing natural disasters. Second, cities consume 60-80% of energy and produce 75% of CO2 emissions. Every 10 years an area size of Great Britain ends up under the city concrete. Third, the vast majority of city residents’ have poor-life quality such as polluted air, limited access to transport and open public spaces.

Environmental sustainability is key factor for reaching economic growth and healthier more inclusive societies.

Beautiful house from sustainable materials in Cordoba, Spain (source: Pixabay)

Smart examples like Masdar and Singapur factoring sustainability into policy and urban planning are workable solution and applicable on a larger scale.

The project of Masdar is led by Masdar, a global leader in renewable energy and sustainable urban development, a branch of Mubadala Development Company. With Company’s clear advanced mission to address sustainability challenges of the UAE, Middle East and international markets; they are a true catalyst of world’s switch to commercially viable solutions in renewable energy and sustainable real estate. City is a hub for research and clean tech companies in the UAE and worldwide. It shows UAE’s commitment to sustainability, providing better future for the benefit of all.

There is such a wisdom in combining traditional architecture and sustainable construction materials with modern design and leading edge technology creating truly holistic workable solutions.

Each building is built with low-carbon cement, utilising 90% recycled aluminium, and designed to reduce energy and water consumption by at least 40% compared to the average building in Abu Dhabi. It is graded with a 3-Pearl UAE’s Estidama Pearl Rating System comparable with LEED Gold (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) the international green building certification. Estidama means ‘sustainability’ in Arabic.

Project of Masdar city applies real-world solutions in every segment of urban life. The mobility within city is very good solved by planning neighbourhoods in a way to have all basic services (restaurants, cafes, shops) within walking distance because the most sustainable way is to walk. City planning places pedestrians first and supplement walking with clean tech public transportation such as eco-bus (whose engine comprises from a lightweight aluminium body and temperature-resistant, water-cooled battery), personal rapid electronic driverless transit (PRT), bike share stations, metro and light rail transit.

For the last few decades, urban development has been without a sustainable plan due to economic, environmental, employment and social inclusion inefficiency. That led to further increase in class differences and negative effect this gap has on existing citizens. Moreover, it failed to meet aspirations of enormous number of people coming to cities in search for decent work and life.

Balconies planted with trees mitigate big mass of concrete (source: Pixabay)

Therefore, examples of Masdar and Singapur offer great opportunity to learn more about sustainability attempts in urban environment and how to shift current negative trends.

I personally would love to be a resident of such city as Masdar and hope to see faster transition of existing cities that can offer higher quality of life within the lowest environmental footprint by encouraging people from all walks of life to live, work and socialize in sustainable ways.

Parking garage immediately looks visually better & can provide home for life other then cars only (source: Pixabay)