Ouroussoff visits Masdar

After several years of marketing hype, Masdar gets visited by the NYTimes architecture critic, Nicholai Ouroussoff. What is interesting about his review, is his analysis of the social impacts (and benefits) of living in Foster’s ‘zero-carbon city’ may just be available to the wealthy and invited foreigners.

What Masdar really represents, in fact, is the crystallization of another global phenomenon: the growing division of the world into refined, high-end enclaves and vast formless ghettos where issues like sustainability have little immediate relevance.

…Masdar is the culmination of this trend: a self-sufficient society, lifted on a pedestal and outside the reach of most of the world’s citizens.

Duncan Chard - NYTimes

I’m also curious to see if the Personal Rapid transit system lives up to it’s promise. After several decades of not meeting expectations, will these automated vehicles prove viable or cost effective?

Check out the slideshow & the infographic on how Masdar ‘works’.

Nigel Young/Foster+Partners

it’s worth noting that an article about building a passivhaus in Vermont is in the same edition of the Times.

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3 thoughts on “Ouroussoff visits Masdar

  1. The idea of Masdar simply being another replication of the gated community syndrome is i think interesting. Especially coming from Ouroussoff. It seems a valid critique within the context of questioning the projects ability to be replicated as an answer to the problems of contemporary urbanity. But then i tend to feel that way in general about the cities from scratch sort of attempts. Then again look at Brasilia now vs when ground was first broken. However, what i did find interesting was Fosters incorporation of local, vernacular traditions for dealing with the heat, simply non-“technological” gee whiz solutions, like sunshades, wind tunnels narrow streets and the like. This sort of collection and possible dissemination as a tool-kit is more promising to me than Masdar as some sort of built from scratch urban paradise.

  2. For me, the biggest issue with Masdar is that it is located in a very unsustainable location. No water. No food. no local materials beyond sand. So no matter how efficient they make the entire development, everything will still need to be imported. So what happens to the city if the food supply is interrupted? or if the desalination plant goes off-line? or you run out of imported building materials/spare parts? Then you have a hundred thousand folks stuck in the desert roasting to death.

    I really would like to get my hands on some of the modeling tools that Foster hired – then we could apply the eco-city techniques to places where people already live and deal with pressing development issues – like housing the next 3 billion folks.

  3. Pingback: World Wide News Flash

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