Developers have abandoned their original goal of building the world’s first zero-carbon city in the UAE desert. With completion originally scheduled for this year, just how much of the once-revolutionary vision has actually been realised?
Years from now passing travellers may marvel at the grandeur and the folly of the futuristic landscape on the edges of Abu Dhabi: the barely occupied office blocks, the deserted streets, the vast tracts of undeveloped land and – most of all – the abandoned dream of a zero-carbon city.
Masdar City, when it was first conceived a decade ago, was intended to revolutionise thinking about cities and the built environment.
Now the world’s first planned sustainable city – the marquee project of the United Arab Emirates’ (UAE) plan to diversify the economy from fossil fuels – could well be the world’s first green ghost town.
As of this year – when Masdar was originally scheduled for completion – managers have given up on the original goal of building the world’s first planned zero-carbon city.
Masdar City is nowhere close to zeroing out its greenhouse gas emissions now, even at a fraction of its planned footprint. And it will not reach that goal even if the development ever gets fully built, the authorities admitted. […]