Masdar, also known as the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company, is a renewable energy company based in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates. With a total of US$540 million in assets, the company's mission is to invest in renewable energy and clean technology in Abu Dhabi and around the world for both financial and social returns. Masdar is an important part of Abu Dhabi's efforts to diversify its economy beyond oil production. It pursues an "integrated, holistic" business model that merges higher education, research and development, finance, and the development of large-scale renewable energy projects and sustainable communities. Masdar has three business units, including Masdar Clean Energy, Masdar City, and Masdar Capital.
Here, it is worth talking more about Masdar City, for the uniqueness of this project. Masdar City is being built in Abu Dhabi, in the desert of the United Arab Emirates. This Eco-city is a sustainable mixed-use development designed to be very friendly to pedestrians and cyclists. It has been designed to be a hub for Green Tech companies. Its first tenant was the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, which has been operating in the city since it moved into its campus in September 2010.
The Masdar city is unique in many aspects, which make it an inspiring example for all urban design projects. Masdar City was designed by Foster and Partners. Foster's design team started its work by touring ancient cities such as Cairo and Muscat to see how they kept cool. Foster found that these cities coped with hot desert temperatures through shorter, narrower streets, usually no longer than 70 meters (230 ft). The buildings at the end of these streets create just enough wind turbulence to push air upwards, creating a flushing effect that cools the street. A 45-meter-high (148 ft) wind tower modelled on traditional Arab designs sucks air from above and pushes a cooling breeze through Masdar's streets. As a result, the temperature in the streets is generally 15 to 20 °C (27 to 36 °F) cooler than the surrounding desert.
On the social level, the city is planning to host no less than 45,000 to 50,000 people and 1,500 businesses, primarily commercial and manufacturing facilities specialising in environmentally friendly products. In turn, more than 60,000 workers are expected to commute to the city daily.
We can hope that the economic, technological and social benefits of the Masdar experience will, in turn, encourage governments to invest in the design of similar projects where it is the most needed.