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Here's the World's First Zero-Carbon City, Now Underway

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With so many bonkers, never-going-to-actually-happen plans for future cities—air-borne amoebas or stone piles, anybody?—it's oddly refreshing to come across an idealistic pop-up city that, you know, actually exists. In real life. Such is the case for Foster + Partners' Masdar City, a grand scheme for the world's first zero-carbon metropolis, which sits just outside Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. Not only is the city—in progress since 2010, but not expected to be actually complete until 2025—crafted from of sustainable or "energy-friendly" materials, the whole shebang was designed to run entirely on renewable energy. According to BuzzFeed, Masdar City is "built on an advanced energy grid which monitors the output of every single switch and appliance" and the hulking wind tunnel at the center of it all glows blue when city-dwellers are "within their goal of using 50 percent less energy than a comparable settlement."

For now, the only residents of Masdar City, ultimately to be home to some 40,000 people, are the ones who are creating it: 120 students and staff at the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology. How much does it all cost? The original estimate was just under $20B—yes, billion—but considering their original timeline had them finishing up by 2016, it's probably safe to say that those initial figures are wildly inaccurate by now. Yes, so even this project could easily go unfinished, but, still, it's nice to see pie-in-the-sky architecture rising in real life, and not just on paper. Though, frankly, totally nutso renderings are fun in their own right, anyway.

· Inhabitat Tours Abu Dhabi's Energy-Plus Masdar City [Inhabitat via BuzzFeed]
· All Metropolis 2.0 posts [Curbed National]