Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Masdar City Video - Looks Cool

"Masdar City"
kotajotun, YouTube (November 23, 2007)

"[I] n April 2006, Abu Dhabi took a bold and historic decision to embrace renewable and sustainable energy technologies.

"As the first major hydrocarbon-producing nation to take such a step, it has established its leadership position by launching Masdar, a global cooperative platform for open engagement in the search for solutions to some of mankind's most pressing issues: energy security, climate change and truly sustainable human development."

This is a seriously cool video.

A tip of the hat to VL, who left the YouTube URL in a comment in another blog. That comment read, in part: "Masdar City to me is super scary and yet addictive." I think I see what VL meant - but I don't get as excited quite as easily as I once did. I think it has something to do with seeing catchphrases come and go, like:
  • Global warming
  • Communist threat
  • Sustainability
  • National security
  • Climate change
  • Creeping socialism
  • Energy conservation
  • Upward mobility
  • Quality of life
  • The American dream
I'd be a whole lot more worried about global warming, for example, if I didn't know that we're just coming out of - or maybe still in - the most recent of three (or four, depending on who's counting) major glacial periods Earth has experienced. It'd be a bit disturbing if Earth weren't warming up - as was the case when I was in high school. Then, civilization was doomed by the coming ice age.

Not that cities couldn't be engineered better than they are. One of the reasons I like living in a small town in central Minnesota is that the air doesn't make my eyes sting.

If the Masdar Initiative delivers on its promises, it'll be quite a place. The video does a fine job of extolling the virtues of the coming utopia. Just to be picky, I'll mention some things that jumped out at me from the narrative:

Walled City

Masdar will be a walled city: something we haven't seen in Europe for quite a few centuries. Still, I think I see the point, considering the climate and nearby airport.

Zero Carbon Emissions

Phrases like "carbon footprint" and "carbon emissions" are very 'in' just now: like "sustainable." I suppose the Masdar's "zero carbon emissions" don't count the carbon dioxide that human beings emit.

The Ultimate City?

"One day, all cities will be built like this."

I don't doubt that some elements of Masdar City will be employed elsewhere. However, I remember Brasilia.

"New" isn't always "better" - and the control-freak style of city planning that was popular in my youth didn't work out as well as some had hoped.

An intriguing look at Masdar City

The video, however, is entertaining, informative - and an intriguing look at another grand project in the United Arab Emirates.


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