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Are the Masdarians the new Jetsons?

Jan 18 2013 (IPS) - Back in 2006, when the government of Abu Dhabi — a Middle Eastern emirate that controls eight percent of the world’s oil reserves — announced that it would build “the world’s first zero-carbon city,” skeptics took it with a pinch of salt. Few believed it would be possible.

Today, the silvery facade, spiked rooftop, glass walls and — best of all—the personal driverless public transport that takes you from the mall to the movie theatre and back home is a reminder anything is possible if one has plenty of money and solar power.

As the name suggests, Masdar which means ‘source’ in Arabic is the name of a city being developed where natural and human resources are juxtaposed in a way to get maximum benefit out of renewable energy research, development and innovation. However, it’s still early days for Masdar City. With currently only 200 students residing in the proto-type city, many still wonder whether it will be able to sustain itself as it expands to accommodate the projected 40,000 residents it aims to lure in by the final stage of the project.

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