Masdar, a green city in Abu Dhabi designed by the British architecture firm Foster + Partners planned to be the world's first zero-carbon and zero-waste city in the world is nearing first stage completion after a three year journey. This car-free zone is being driven by Abu Dhabi's Future Energy Company and will be home to the company's headquarters and a new university. The project was unveiled at the Cityscape conference in Abu Dhabi back in 2007.
The land around the city will be home to wind and photovoltaic farms as well as research fields and plantations so that the city is completely self-sustaining but skepticism about Masdar's ability to succeed have trailed the project. The Masdar Institute is due to welcome its first residents this September but it has been no easy road. The project is currently facing its first review. The project was rebranded from "zero carbon" to "carbon neutral" and the parent company recently cut its work force. A piece on Greentech chronicles some of the difficulties which have included sandstorms that limited the solar capacity.
The $22 billion carbon neutral Masdar City project is still planned to provide seven percent of the United Arab Emirates' power with renewable energy sources by 2020 even though the project is behind schedule. In a statement Lord Forster of Foster + Partners said that "Masdar has far reaching significance as a test-bed and an integrated urban research project of unprecedented scale and ambition." Whatever happens with the project is a learning experience not just for Abu Dhabi but for a world trying to go green. It has captured global attention, above, German chancellor Angela Merkel checks out the model of the project.