May 9, 2008

'Masdar City: ecology, hype, or middle way?'

Today I found the existence of an interesting project: Masdar City (the official website, and Masdar City on wikipedia), an **eco-city **near Abu-Dhabi (United Arab Emirates) for some 50,000 people, which will be built in the next few years, and the first available residences will be sold in late 2009. The project will cost about 22 billion dollars, and tries to be very eco-friendly, using renewable energies and eco-buildings.

This introductory video (both in english and arabic) can give you more details, even if it’s quite an advertisement, rather than a documentary.

masdar city [image source]

First, it’s remarkable that an arab nation goes in this direction. I’d like to point out, though, that “artificial” cities (cities planned from scratch) are always difficult to “grow”, because their citizens are not “natural” as in normal cities, but must have an incentive to go there. Think of Brasilia, which has been a moderate success for the great urban plans, but also because Brazilians were poor, and they were a lot and needed shelter. Will Masdar be successful as well?

masdar city [image source]

In any case, I’d love, in the future, to live in an eco-friendly, not-so-small and not-too-big city, like Vancouver, for example, which ranks among the top ones regarding ecology, life and economy.

From this topic, I also stumbled upon the wikipedia page of Enrico Mattei, a great italian leader and entrepreneur of the mid-decades of 20th century, who led ENI (the national energy company), made tough decisions, and was killed probably by the seven sisters of energy and/or CIA because he endangered their interests.

I sometimes think of doing something lasting and meaningful for mankind, but people that tried that often share such bitter ends. It seems that the only way to win the inertia of an overriding economic power is to find a way to soften the change, otherwise bad people will kill you. If you think about it, it’s (sadly) perfectly normal in a human society (I mean, to preserve the position you earned), in which a single person can’t really stand the power of huge corporations.

I don’t have a solution, I’m just observing. And you?