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I had the chance to tour a unique development while visiting Abu Dhabi with INSEAD. As I wrote in my earlier posts, Wealth Before Development and Beyond the Oil Era, Abu Dhabi is investing in diversifying its economy from oil. One of these initiatives, sponsored by Mubadala, is Masdar City. This development is completely sustainable and carbon-neutral and currently houses the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, in partnership with MIT. The following are some pictures and things I learned from the tour.
While Masdar could serve as a model for other sustainable cities, the types of buildings and processes needed drastically vary by climate. The sunny, dry heat of the desert of the desert in Abu Dhabi presents completely different challenges for saving electricity than the bitter cold winters in Chicago, for example. Because most of the growth in urbanization will happen in existing cities, Masdar should also research how to retrofit urban areas to make them more sustainable.