"At Masdar, one aim was to create an alternative to the ugliness and inefficiency of the sort of development -- suburban villas slathered in superficial Islamic-style décor, gargantuan air-conditioned malls -- that has been eating away the fabric of Middle Eastern cities for decades. [Foster] began with a meticulous study of old Arab settlements, including the ancient citadel of Aleppo in Syria and the mud-brick apartment towers of Shibam in Yemen, which date from the 16th century. “The point,” he said in an interview in New York, “was to go back and understand the fundamentals,” how these communities had been made livable in a region where the air can feel as hot as 150 degrees. Among the findings his office made was that settlements were often built on high ground, not only for defensive reasons but also to take advantage of the stronger winds. Some also used tall, hollow “wind towers” to funnel air down to street level. And the narrowness of the streets -- which were almost always at an angle to the sun’s east-west trajectory, to maximize shade -- accelerated airflow through the city. With the help of environmental consultants, Mr. Foster’s team estimated that by combining such approaches, they could make Masdar feel as much as 70 degrees cooler. In so doing, they could more than halve the amount of electricity needed to run the city."Sounds promising. But what's it like to live in? For that we have to visit the blogs of students who just moved in to their dorms in the Masdar Institute! Check out Laura Stupin's humorous and encouraging post -- I live in a spaceship in the middle of the desert! She posts some beautiful nighttime photos of her surroundings and also posted an absolutely hilarious video comparison between her real-world and science fiction "landspeeders"! Finally, click here for the full-scale NYTimes infographic on the overall Masdar project...
26 September 2010
Masdar Emergent ~ Beginning of New Clean City
Nicolai Ouroussoff writes in the NYTimes that In Arabian Desert, a Sustainable City Rises, about the first elements of Masdar in Abu Dhabi -- and the overarching clean city vision...
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