Masdar City: Combining Ancient Building Techniques With New Technologies to Create a City of the Future

by Jesse Crabtree

The United Arab Emirates may elicit images of old oil for many, but now Abu Dhabi’s Masdar City seeks to change this by becoming the “world’s most sustainable eco-city.” This city of 40,000 permanent residents and 50,000 daily commuters plans to run entirely off of renewable energy. The city will house its own 10-megawatt solar field, from which it hopes to fill 20% of its energy needs. The other 80% will come from renewable sources outside the city. However, the true genius behind Masdar lies less in the renewable energy that it does use, and more in the energy that it doesn’t. With summer temperatures of 130° F, Abu Dhabi regularly spends 70% of its energy on air conditioning. So instead of hiding all of its residents indoors in air-conditioned buildings—as is the norm in Abu Dhabi—Masdar seeks to draw its residents outside, where passive building techniques will provide cool spaces. Continue reading