If you still don’t know much about Masdar City, I’ll have an in-depth photo essay and tour online in a day or two.
Do your homework as it’s likely that the global audience will start to hear about progress at Masdar more regularly in the future. The (almost) entirely self-sustaining, carbon free experiment in the desert of Abu Dhabi has landed its first big corporate tenant – Siemens.
Technically this is old news (it was announced in 2010 and ground was broken in October) but coupled with the energy of Masdar City’s second phase the partnership with Siemens takes on a lot of meaning. No less than 1000 Siemens employes (and ultimately as many as 2000) will work at Masdar City. Many may choose to live there as well. It’s both a validation of progress at Masdar City itself as well as a brilliant move by Siemens to get in on the action taking place in research, experimentation, and ultimately a massive piece of publicity for smart urban design in general (at least that’s my theory).
Siemens chose Masdar City for somewhat obvious reasons – a similar vision of sustainability being perhaps the starting point. But more importantly, Masdar City is a living experiment in smart grid technology, green building, radical urban design, and a petri dish to prove concepts and ultimately commercialize them. As experiments at Masdar City start to pan out, global applications will emerge. For example, making renewable energy commercially viable in Abu Dhabi (where natural gas fired electricity is incredibly cheap) would be instantly useful everywhere in the world. Likewise as global interest in green building and car-free urban living continues to grow, both Siemens and Masdar City will be poised to capture considerable international attention. I wouldn’t be surprised if, as Siemens occupies their building in 2013, we’ll start to see Masdar City mentioned prominently in Siemens’ marketing material – maybe even on TV in the United States (who sorely lags behind). If we’re lucky, we’ll see companies like Siemens and Masdar working to build comparable urban experiments elsewhere. Time will tell.
*Ed Note: Travel to Abu Dhabi for 3p was covered by Masdar