Masdar
The Christian Science Monitor published an interesting article that voices scepticism on whether the planned carbon-neutral city of Masdar in Abu Dhabi could indeed become a sustainable urban innovation model globally:

“The project has done little to impress green city planners not connected with the venture. A utopia spawned by petro-dollars is not a practical solution to real-world emissions problems, they say. Current cities must address political and social concerns that are irrelevant to the UAE experiment.”

More relevant to the theme of this blog, the article also underlines local cultural problems:

“While Masdar has ignited curiosity beyond the nation’s borders, it has elicited limited enthusiasm from a key audience: locals. For many Abu Dhabians, the concerns range from weak air conditioning to limited access to automobiles – car culture is deeply entrenched in the UAE.” [...]

“The first fundamental thing in urban design is about people. Why would people want to be here?“ says William Mitchell, a professor of architecture and director of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Smart Cities project in Cambridge, Mass. “It’s not so much the technology and the organization of infrastructure and systems, although those ultimately become very important things.”

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