back to article United Arab Emirates plan zero carbon desert city

The United Arab Emirates will today formally unveil plans for an all-new, zero carbon desert city - seven square kilometres of carless utopia designed to house 50,000 people. Artist's impression of Masdar. Image: Foster + Partners The project - dubbed Masdar ("the source") - is being designed by top Brit architect Lord Foster …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pod trains

    Yeh, personal pods, I always thought that would be a neat idea.... have a little slow personal pod for moving yourself and your stuff around, then have trains of pods with a bigger engine to ship the pods longer distances.

    Don't stop the trains to add/remove a pod, accelerate a mod down a ramp, attach it to the end of the train in motion. To remove the pod, decouple, sideline the pod, recouple, or if it's at the end, just decouple.

  2. michael

    milton keens

    in the desart?

  3. Michael Compton

    Looking out my window...

    There is no sun so there must be no future, oh my what a pickle :)

    Its raining, typical, if anyone was wondering :)

  4. SpitefulGOD
    Gates Halo


    they'll need a new industry within the next 75 years solar panel production seems good, just hope they're building it on a suitable level so it's not gonna get flooded when the sea levels rise.

  5. Michael Jolly


    the city of the future will look kinda like the city of the 9th centry? cool in a way. And helpfull as the tech used in it may filter down to other buildings hopefully

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Thumb Down

    60s housing again?

    designed on a three-level concept, one housing a light railway to connect the city with nearby Abu Dhabi, a second reserved for pedestrians, with a third set aside for "personalised rapid transport pods,"

    sounds like 60s tower block housing all over again! Haven't we learned from our mistakes that separating the pedestrian and the transport movement is a bad idea?

  7. Ishkandar

    Then the camels....

    ...for the tourists to ride on let go thunderous f*rts....

    So much for the pollution-free city !!

    I'll be getting my NBC outfit ready for the visit !!

  8. Spleen

    With my ten trillion dollars, I've bought the history of the world

    "The world's first sustainable city". Right. Jerusalem has been around for 6,000 years. Rome, 2,700 years. Our own London was only founded 2,000 years ago. But this bricks and mortar equivalent of the "I'm Not A Plastic Bag" bag is the world's first sustainable city. Thanks for that, you bunch of myopic pretentious beret-wearing fashionista morons.

    This is no more the future than Dubai's replica of the entire world on a bunch of islands for private sale. The Emirates have huge amounts of money, they've gotta spend it on something, more power to them. If I had billions of petrodollars I'd buy myself all kinds of ridiculous crap as well. I might even buy an iPhone. But that doesn't make it the future of sustainable living.

  9. Arnold Lieberman


    So solar power is going to be used to make the inevitably huge amount of concrete that a city needs? This city isn't going to be zero carbon unless every tonne is accounted for, from conception and planning through to the running.

    Good to see FoTE coming up with their usual whiney it's-just-not-good-enough comment though.

  10. Anthony Kemp


    Where else are we going to live!!!

    After utilising all of the carbon based resources of the region to polute anywhere that doesn't have an average UV rating of > 69!

    We need self sustained, solar powered metropolosis too at least maintain, if not continue our quest to live off planet!

    Didn't you know that there is a plan to move the ozone hole to cover a region, a couple of hundres Kms wide, stretching from Athens to Karratha!!

  11. Chris Collins

    Getting materials to the desert?

    Are they going to move all the required components to the site by magic carpet, rather than 40 tonne diesel-swilling dumper trucks? How are they going to make the hole this lot goes into without JCBs and scoop loaders? Let alone the water required for the various labourers (hmm, desalination plants running off pixie dust)? Carbon-nuetral my arse.

  12. Roger Barrett
    Thumb Up

    A good start surely?

    At least these people are making an effort, surely thats a good thing? like all the effort to make electric cars, yes the power is still coming from a coal/nuclear power plant but it becomes possible to replace this one unit with something greener in the future.

    The same could be said here, if nothing else it can be viewed as an experiment on how to live in a city with as little impact as possible, yes I know the building work and materials might not be green, did they say concrete would be used? I dont know, and dont know what they could use instead, just a thought there.

    Surely implementing solar panels and creating micro climates should be commended and seen as a start, at least they are doing something?

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    50,000 people in the desert

    I think there could be a subtle flaw in the plan. Trucking in a million bottles of Evian per day (working off about 20L per person for drinking, washing and bathing) could slightly skew carbon balance sheet.

    This is a desert they're building this city in, right? An in, "bereft of water" kind of desert?

    // Paris should be the mayor of the soon to be constructed town of Ecowank.

  14. Vladimir Plouzhnikov

    It's nice

    when you have thousands of cheap Asian workers to constantly clean all those solar arrays. A bonus is that noone would care if a few of them fall off the roof and die...

  15. Mike
    Paris Hilton

    May Allah have mercy...

    I'm not even going to start on the "zero-carbon" side of it yet (several have already pointed out the flaws).

    I'm more concerned over the project being run by Lord Foster. Given some of his previous efforts, it'll be fortunate if the whole billion dollar project isn't built upside-down, inside-out, underwater or just 4000 miles out of position. Wonder how far it'll move, given it'll be built in the desert, i.e. on sand...

    All together now:

    "The wise man built his house upon the rock, the wise man built..."

    Paris icon because she'll be the lead architect.

  16. Tim Brown

    not carbon free!

    Because: there will be transport. Transport requires lubricants. Transport requires electricity (unless everyone who lives there is fit and always capable of cycling - which still requires lubricant).

    The best lubricants are made of oil - which is a long carbon chain. Of course this doesn't have to be fossil-based oil (the black stuff they get out of the ground), but they'll still have to refine any vegetable oil to make it viscous enough for use in a large transportation device (whether it be pod, leccy train, etc).

    There's also the question of what they'll do with their rubbish - where will that go? How will it be handled? What will happen to the plastics?

    It'll never be 100% carbon free.

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