Masdar is a familiar word to all of us who are concerned about the future of our dear planet Earth. But for the few of you who have never heard of it, please allow us the pleasure to introduce you this incredible project.
Masdar is first of all a company, notably a Mubadala – Abu Dhabi government owned company, based in Abu Dhabi, UAE. As stated in the company’s website ” Masdar is a commercially driven enterprise that operates to reach the broad boundaries of the renewable energy and sustainable technologies industry – there by giving it the necessary scope to meet these challenges. Masdar operates through five integrated units, including an independent, research-driven graduate university (Masdar Institute, other units are Masdar Capital, Masdar Power, Masdar Carbon, Masdar City cfr.) and seeks to become a leader in making renewable energy a real, viable business and Abu Dhabi a global centre of excellence in the renewable energy and clean technology category. The result is an organisation greater than the sum of its parts and one where the synergies of shared knowledge and technological advancement provide this commercial and results-driven company with a competitive advantage that includes an ability to move with agility and intelligence within an industry that is evolving at great speed.
This holistic approach keeps Masdar at the forefront of this important global industry, while ensuring it remains grounded in the pursuit of pioneering technologies and systems that also are feasible. As a result, it delivers innovation to the market while deriving profits for its shareholders.”
This huge project deals with all the aspects of sustainability: research, energy, finance, architecture, urbanism. Last but not least, retail. Because of its importance in the life of all the people who will live in Masdar City and for “its contribution to the city’s appeal as a renewable energy and clean-technology hub“, retail in Masdar “will provide valuable lessons regarding commercial activities (…) increasing our understanding of how retail activities can be conducted in a sustainable manner”. The list of the companies who have already been involved in the Masdar City retail project includes Caribou Coffee, health insurance provider Daman, telecom provider Etisalat, Sumo Sushi, express delivery company Aramex, Omeir Travel, Organic Foods & Cafe and National Bank of Abu Dhabi. The first commercial building, the Courtyard Building, has been planned to be finished by 2012, therefore there is enough time for this list to become a very long one.
In the meanwhile, many are the people who are praizing the incredible urban project designed by Foster and Partners, but to be fair, there are also critics like New York Times journalist Nicolai Ouroussof who wrote that “…its design also reflects the gated-community mentality that has been spreading like a cancer around the globe for decades. Its utopian purity, and its isolation from the life of the real city next door, are grounded in the belief — accepted by most people today, it seems — that the only way to create a truly harmonious community, green or otherwise, is to cut it off from the world at large“.
Our point of view and what we are always stressing in our ECOFFEE projects, is that sustainability is too important for our future and each and every project that has a little bit of sustainability in it is important to raise people awareness. To be too critical towards sustainability-related projects, requiring their perfection – which at this stage is quite hard to achieve – postpones any action and creates confusion among people, these two being the worst enemies of sustainability. (Picture credits: Masdar.ae)