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World's First Sustainable City

In one of the harshest environments on earth, the United Arab Emirates is planning to build what is being described as the world’s first sustainable city. One seven square kilometers of desert on the outskirts of Abu Dhabi, where there is no fresh water (or any water for that matter), no soil and no animals, billions of petrodollars will be used to build a city called Masdar, which means “the source” in Arabic. The walled city is intended to house 50,000 people and 1,500 businesses. There will be no cars and it will be self sufficient in renewable energy – solar, of course. To keep the city at zero carbon emissions, the buildings will be very close together and cooled by wind towers that will collect desert breezes and flush out hot air. No buildings will be more than five stories high and the city will be oriented northeast to southwest. Most roads will be less than ten feet wide and 230 feet long, which evidently creates its own microclimate and helps keep air circulating. To even build the city, a large solar power station will have to be built, although it is hoped that the station will be removed after the city is built, as the goal is to generate all energy needs within the city itself. The main industry for the city will likely be the manufacture of solar panels, making it the center of the global solar energy manufacturing industry. People will move around the city on three levels. A light railway will move people from Masdar to Abu Dhabi. A second level will be reserved for pedestrians and a third will be reserved for “personalized rapid transport pods.” The irony is, of course, that this sustainable city is being financed by oil economies.

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