TopTripBlog

Burj gets big book

Postado por: raquel em 25/fev/2009 | Sem Comentários

The world’s largest book has been commissioned for the world’s tallest building, the Burj Dubai. The book, which will chronicle the construction of the Burj, will be 16ft tall and made of some of the world’s finest silk-threaded paper. It will first tour 15 cities around the world before becoming a centrepiece in the Burj and will tell the stories of over 100 people who worked on the tower. The tome, which will cost more than dhs5.25 million has been commissioned from Kraken Opus, a UK-based company that specalises in manufacturing high-quality outsized books.

The company previously completed a giant book on the history of Manchester United football club that was recently sold at auction for over £1 million (dhs5.25 million). Chief Executive Karl Fowler said that book would be accompanied by a print run of 750,000 giant books with covers measuring half a sqm. The paper will be threaded with silk, which helps the print and photo quality and the binding will be hand-stitched so that 98 per cent of the page surface can be seen by turning the page. “With cheaper binds, the book is bound so tightly that you have to press the page down to read the print. We use the best materials because it makes reading more pleasurable,” Fowler said.

The giant book’s pages will be turned using a giant paddle. Fowler said that the money spent on the project was justified, even during the economic downturn. “Some of Hollywood’s most lavish, expensive films were made during the Great Depression. People need escape. We’re not making the book just for the here and now, we’re making it so that it can be read 50 years from now.” The book will be released shortly after the Burj opens later this year.

Agua…BOA IDEIA

Postado por: raquel em 24/fev/2009 | Sem Comentários

Uma nova competicao com grandes quantias como recompensa tem a esperanca de transformar criancas em futuros Guerreiros em Prol da Ecologia.

Quantas vezes voce ja escutou que tem que economizar energia??? Isso independentemente de qual Pais voce eh ou de qual nivel social voce pertence….e porque ate agora voce ainda precisa ser lembrado disso??

It speaks volumes when the people who make money from our energy consumption offer awards to people who cut down on their power usage.That’s right, Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA), has just launched a project called ‘Conservation for a Better Tomorrow’.

Gone are the days when it’s the dads who storm around the house switching off TVs – the energy provider is now trying to turn the tables to encourage children to be the environmental gurus of the family. The aim of its project is to reduce water and electricity consumption and turn young people into Dubai’s very own ‘Conservation Ambassadors’.

DEWA is asking students from nursery to university age to come up with ideas to change the way their family consumes power, and those that come up with the best suggestions will win prizes up to dhs5,000 for each category.

Amal Koshak from DEWA says it’s important children know all they can about energy preservation. “The young generation will be vital in securing a sustainable future for Dubai,” he says. “As conservation ambassadors, students will help promote the benefits of eliminating wasted electricity and water, both to protect energy resources plus reduce the cost of household bills.” And it doesn’t seem like there will be any problem finding junior environmentalists in this city either.

Monty Prior, says he does lots in his home to prevent energy waste. “We put a brick in the toilet tank. It does not let as much water come into the tank so you save water every time you flush. “We also have a hosepipe going from the washing machine taking the water outside to water the palm tree and the turf. We got the ideas from my dad – he made them up.”Monty, who is seven-years-old and attends Horizon school, says he learns about environmental issues at school, such as the need to stop cutting down trees in the rainforest.

He adds: “I always switch off the TV when I have finished. If we don’t stop what we are doing the whole world will turn into a rubbish heap”.

“Me and my friend Russell invented a recycling machine. It has a seed planter and a rubbish pick up arm, a hoover to suck up rubbish, a compacting area and composting area. We haven’t made it, we’ve just drawn plans for it, but it’s going to be a real thing.” Elizabeth Scott-Laws, seven, and her brother and sister, Christopher, five, and Georgina, three, say they also try to save energy.

“I switch lights off when I go out and when I finish the shower I turn the tap off because my daddy says don’t waste water,” says Elizabeth, a pupil at Sharjah English school. “We have a water mill which we play with outside but we know we can’t use too much water… If I’m at school I turn the tap off when I wash my hands.” Christopher adds: “If you waste water you won’t have any water left.”

Schools can register their pupil’s entries at www.dewa.gov.ae from April 12-16. Entries should include a detailed description of how the student’s have prevented energy waste at home along with a chart monitoring their consumption. They should also try to work out how much they’ve saved.

SAVE ENERGY AND MONEY

It seems like everybody’s trying to educate us about energy consumption these days. The Emirates Wildlife Society has teamed up with WWF and the Environment Agency in Abu Dhabi to launch the ‘Heroes of the UAE’ campaign. The initiative will urge people living and working in the UAE to try to reduce their energy consumption.

Aimed at people of all ages and backgrounds, the campaign emphasises that action now can safeguard the environment for our children’s future. After delivering their message at a press conference last week, where children appealed to the audience to help save the environment, the environment groups issued a list of simple tips to help reduce energy consumption in the home:

* Once you’ve adjusted your air conditioning to the temperature you want, turn it back up just two or three degrees. You’ll hardly know the difference, but it will make around a dhs240 difference to your consumption.

* Take a shower as it uses around three times less water than a hot bath. As well as saving energy, showering also saves you time.

* Lampadas que economizam energia sao muito mais eficientes do que as suas versoes tradicionais e duram por ate dez vezes mais.
* A maioria dos aquecedores de agua leva somente 20 minutos para aquecer agua suficiente para um banho, por isso acostume-se a desliga-lo quando voce nao precisa de agua quente.
* Hoje em dia a maioria dos utensilios de cozinha ja estao classificados pelo seu nivel de consumo de energia. Se vc estiver comprando qualquer novo utensilio, procure por esta importante informacao junto ao fabricante.
* Quando possivel, coloque a maquina de lavar para funcionar no ciclo de somente 30°C, isso economizara energia e o resultado sera o mesmo, com relacao a lavagem das roupas!
* Quando com ar condicionado ligado, mantnha portas e janelas fechadas e faca a manutencao de limpeza dos aparelhos uma vez por mes.
* Desligar TV’s e demais aparelhos eletricos das tomadas, pois mesmo desligados (em stand by) eles consomem energia!
* Fechar a torneira enquanto escovando os dentes ou esfregando sabao nas maos.
* Colocar uma garrafa plastica cheia de agua no tanque da privada para reduzir a quantidade de agua usada a cada descarga.
* Desligar aparelhosde ar condicionado quando sair, manter cortinas fechadas para que os ambientes ja resfriados, assim se mantenham por mais tempo.

Que tal ajudarmos a salvar o Mundo? Que tal ajudarmos a preservar o pouco que nos resta…tambem aos nossos filhos, netos e as proximas Geracoes?? Que tal nao colaborarmos com o tao triste aquecimento global??

Para saber mais sobre esta campanha, acesse: www.heroesoftheuae.ae

Dubai puts heat on cooling plants – Fresh water ban for new cooling plants

Postado por: raquel em 16/fev/2009 | Sem Comentários

REQUIREMENT DISALLOWS USE OF RESH WATER
Tariff adjustments, meanwhile, will encourage firms to utilise “thermal storage” technology.

New district cooling plants in Dubai will not be allowed to use fresh water and will have to reduce the amount of electricity they draw from the grid in peak hours, the head of the Dubai Electricity and Water Authority (DEWA) said on Monday.

District cooling plants are basically giant air conditioners that can cool a building or an entire development up to 40 per cent more efficiently than conventional systems.
But they also require vast quantities of water from DEWA’s desalination plants. The country is heavily dependent on energy-intensive desalination to provide its fresh water.

“District cooling systems are saving energy in one part, while consuming it in another,” said Saeed al Tayer, the DEWA chief executive.
The majority of the nation’s power demand is from air conditioning, and district cooling is seen by DEWA and others as a key way to reduce high power demand that has threatened to overwhelm capacity across the region.

The new requirements would be accompanied by changes to tariffs to make electricity sold to district cooling firms cheaper at night and other periods when demand for power was lowest, Mr al Tayer said on the sidelines of a district cooling conference in Dubai. The tariff change will reward firms for implementing “thermal storage” technology that allows the plants to draw electricity at night and produce chilled water for storage and use during the day.

According to a decree issued last September by Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed, Crown Prince of Dubai, new district cooling plants in the emirate will be required to use treated sewage water, recycled “grey” wastewater or salt water, and to install thermal storage.

Mr. al Tayer said the law applied to all new plants that were still at the planning stage.
“We did a study of the developers. They mentioned that for the next five years, they will need more than 500 million gallons [of water],” he said. “It will cost DEWA billions of dirhams. That’s why His Highness Sheikh Hamdan came up with the decree where we ask all district cooling companies to utilise the treated water.”

The new requirements were not a big hurdle for district cooling firms, said Richard Smith, a technical director at Atkins, a global engineering firm.

Several plants in the region already used treated sewage water, he said. “We’ve done it before. Dubai has a large surplus of [treated sewage effluent] at the moment.”
Encouraging the growth of district cooling was a key part of DEWA’s strategy to reduce the growth in the emirate’s power demand, which routinely ranked among the highest in the world, Mr al Tayer said.

Power demand in Dubai would grow by at least 6 per cent this year, despite the number of expatriates leaving the country because of the global financial crisis, he said. The company’s highest-scenario forecast, developed last year, estimated that demand would grow by an average of 11 per cent per year in the medium term.
“There will be an effect, but we don’t have a precise figure,” he said. “Even if there is one year of slow growth, it will recover. The recovery period will be very fast because the infrastructure is there.”

Mr al Tayer said the effect of the global crisis was not strong enough for DEWA to consider delaying construction of any of its gas-fired power stations.
In an effort to slow demand growth, the utility has implemented education programmes in schools and introduced a new tariff structure last spring that charges customers more for using more than 2,000 kilowatt-hours per month.
The tariff change had slowed demand growth by about 1 per cent, Mr al Tayer said.

Reviving the pearl’s lustre

Postado por: raquel em 16/fev/2009 | 1 Comentário

A patch of sea off the coast of Ras al Khaimah holds the key to the rebirth of the long-lost pearl industry in the Emirates.

Beneath the waters lie hundreds of thousands of pearls, but these are not the natural wonders for which Emiratis scoured the ocean floor hundreds of years ago.

The natural process has been prodded along by technology in about one million oysters by the Al Rams-based Emirates and Japan Pearl Cultivation and Trading Company, the only organised cultured pearl farm in the UAE.

A joint venture between Abdulla Rashid al Suwaidi, of Ras al Khaimah, and Imura Daiji, of Japan, it is an attempt to revisit the nation’s pearling culture.

“The UAE’s pearl history started hundreds of years ago,” says Mr Imura, the company chief executive. “Japanese pearl history is only about 100 years old; this is very short. We want to learn more from the UAE and the UAE’s culture.”

The company, which was established in 2004, expects its harvest next month to produce 100,000 fully grown pearls.

Still, this is a tiny yield compared with the output of some companies around the world, which can produce more than three million pearls each year, Mr Imura says.
The global market for pearls is set to reach about US$3 billion (Dh11.01bn) annually by next year, representing 2 per cent of the jewellery market, according to Gaiti Rabbani, the executive director for the coloured stones and pearls division at the Dubai Multi Commodities Centre (DMCC).

The pearls produced by Emirates and Japan are destined for jewellery pieces created by the company’s chief designer, Sheikha Fatima Al Qassimi, or in one of Mr Imura’s own designs. The company has an elite customer base that spans the UAE, says Mr Imura, but it is also in talks with a “luxury American jewellery maker”.
“If that happens, our pearls will go out to the world,” he says.

Dubai is also making big moves to reposition itself as a major player in the global pearl industry, with the first World Pearl Forum. Leading pearl producers and experts will descend on the emirate today, including Nicholas Paspaley, the executive chairman of the Paspaley Pearling Company from Australia, and Noriyuki Morita, the president of Mikimoto, the Japanese company that created the world’s first cultured pearl.

The inaugural two-day event, which begins today at the Atlantis hotel, is being hosted by the Dubai Pearl Exchange. Launched by the DMCC, the initiative’s aim is to position Dubai as the pearl trading capital of the world, says Ms Rabbani.

“We were very active in the pearl trade and pearls came from off the coast of the Gulf waters,” says Ms Rabbani. “They would be brought to Dubai to be traded, and people would come from all over to buy these pearls for many, many years. We’re trying to re-establish that role. Even though we are not producing, we can still lead the trade.”
The DMCC is also opening “Pearls of Arabia”, a 6,000 square metre offshore entertainment, retail and education centre to be built at The World development.

While Dubai is known as the “city of gold”, Ms Rabbani believes it is more suited to being the “city of pearls”. “I think pearls are closer to our hearts,” she says.

Hundreds of years before oil was discovered in the Emirates, the pearl oyster was a source of local wealth and accounted for 80,000 jobs at its peak. Divers would scour the sea floor in search of pearls, which form when a foreign object becomes lodged inside the shellfish, triggering the oyster to continually coat the irritant to protect itself. These men would make about 50 deep dives per day, up to two minutes each, using only a nose clip, finger protectors, a rope basket and a 5kg stone to weigh them down, according to the Abu Dhabi Authority for Culture and Heritage.

But in 1905, Kokichi Mikimoto of Japan discovered a way to make perfect pearl spheres by inserting a fragment of shell into the molluscs. These cultured pearls flooded the market and the price plummeted, and as the UAE shifted to oil, the industry slowly died.

The DMCC recently explored the possibility of cultivating pearls in Dubai, but decided it was not viable, Ms Rabbani says.

“It takes many, many, many years to establish pearl farms to be able to produce pearls of a quality that would compete commercially with other producing centres,” Ms Rabbani says. “It’s not a matter of setting up a pearl farm and in two or three years you’ve got the quality you want. It takes a whole process to get to that point.”

Mr Imura knows this better than most. He first began scouting the nation for potential pearl farm sites in 2001. He originally looked at Abu Dhabi and Dubai, but the construction boom limited the amount of available space with the right conditions – relatively still water. His partner, Mr al Suwaidi, the Under Secretary of the Ministry of Social Affairs, suggested Ras al Khaimah.

Mr al Suwaidi, who met Mr Imura when he was working at the UAE embassy in Japan, secured a section of the waterfront at Al Rams from the Ras al Khaimah Government, he says. Mr Imura accepted the offer to join the venture and so the company was born, and the long process of setting up the farm began. Workers plucked oysters of the right age – about one or two years old – from the sea bed.
“These are like my babies,” Mr Imura says.

After a rounded piece of oyster shell is implanted, workers regularly massage and clean the outside of the shellfish. It takes between three and six months to produce a pearl, Mr Imura says.

In its first harvest, the company produced 2,000 pearls and, by 2005, the number was up to 12,000. The company’s harvest in 2007 grew to 40,000 pearls, and it is expected to hit the 100,000 mark in next month’s harvest, Mr Imura says. The company can harvest more, he says, but they set out to extract no more than 20 per cent of the pearls at a time. “This is very important. We don’t want a broken environment,” Mr Imura says. “This is our responsibility.”

Mr Imura will not divulge sales profits, but says the company intends to expand its farm.

The pearl industry continues to grow, says Ms Rabbani, although she predicts some of the smaller farms will suffer under the worldwide credit crunch. Still Ms Rabbani believes the tough economic times offer opportunity.

“Pearls are something that people fall back on at times like this,” she says. “It’s more understated jewellery, it’s less sort of ‘bling’. It is something I think that the pearl industry can draw upon.”

Projeto de Tiger Woods a “todo vapor”

Postado por: raquel em 14/fev/2009 | Sem Comentários

Construction work on the Tiger Woods Dubai golf development is proceeding “full steam ahead”, Tatweer said on Wednesday.

“We are very committed to achieving the vision and achieving our milestones – we haven’t stopped work,” said project director Abdulla Al Gurg.

The developer recently insisted that the 55 million square foot residential golf was “rapidly progressing” towards its scheduled completion timeline of the fourth quarter of 2009.

On Wednesday, Al Gurg told Arabian Business: “Any adjustments to the current announced completion date will be announced in a future statement.”

To date, work completed includes the detailed shaping of 10 holes on the golf course, while eight holes have been roughly shaped and 2,000 trees have been planted.

When complete, the Tiger Woods Dubai will act as an exclusive golf community encompassing a professionally-staffed golf academy; a 139,000 sq. ft. clubhouse, a high-end destination spa, 22 palaces, 75 mansions, and 100 luxury villas and community service facilities.

Al Gurg also revealed that a general manager for the golf course has just been appointed, adding that the official announcement and details of this appointment would be made next week.

“That shows you that we are committed to the operations,” he said.

Dubai Jazz Festival (18-27 Fev, 2009)

Postado por: raquel em 06/fev/2009 | Sem Comentários

Esse evento ja acontece ha 5 anos aqui e eh super astral, realizado nos jardins da Dubai Media City, ao lado do lago, ao ar livre, com atmosfera incrivel e presenca de grandes astros! Adoro!

Qual eh o lance da Dubailand?

Postado por: raquel em 06/fev/2009 | Sem Comentários

Em meio a rumores sobre eventuais atrasos no projeto, o Senior Vice Presidente da Dubailand, Sr. Mohammed Al Habbai nos poe a par das prioridades do projeto para 2009.

However, the man in charge of delivering Dubai’s three billion ft² leisure destination was calm and collected, still excited by the challenge ahead yet acknowledging that now is the time to reflect on the development so far and reassess priorities.

“No momento, estamos reavaliando projetos que ainda nem tenham sido iniciados, porem vamos dar continuidade aos que ja estao em andamento”.

Universal Studios, The Tiger Woods Dubai e Asia Asia sao nossas principais prioridades. Por exemplo, ele diz que o Parque tematico de Formula 1 (F1-X) na Motor City) e Universal Studios na Universal City “estao dentro do cronograma”.

“Universal Studios nos estamos prevendo que estara concluido no fim de 2010 / 2011 e o Parque de Formula 1 ate o fim deste ano, pois no momento ja estamos com 70% da construcao concluida., informou o Sr. Al Habbai.

“For F1′s first year of operation, we’re targeting 2.2 million visitors and at Universal we are targeting four million visitors in the first year. We are well focused on where do we have to spend; our priorities come first.

“Universal Studios, The Tiger Woods Dubai e Asia Asia sao nossas principais prioridades.”

Al Habbai explains that the huge scale of Dubailand’s projects means that many are in different phases. It seems unrealisitic to assume that everything will come online together and Al Habbai made no mention of the phase one opening date of December 10, 2010, previously quoted to Leisure Manager.

Instead, he says most of phase one will be completed by 2010/2011, suggesting that the project is moving forward with a greater air of caution than previously.

Al Habbai even admits that they are “reviewing” Tatweer project Global Village.

“As we speak we have six projects that are in their first phase, such as the golf course in Dubai Sports City and the Al Sahra Desert Resort amphitheatre. Dubai Sports City and Motor City are going as planned. City of Arabia is expecting delays of three months,” says Al Habbai.

He concedes that delivering the infrastructure for Dubailand remains a daily challenge.

“We are working very closely with the government; the biggest challenge that we have daily is how to put all of the transportation master plan in place, which we are working with the Roads &Transport Authority (RTA) and our consultant to implement.”

With Al Habbai confident that development is progressing more or less as planned, with very little impact from the global economic crisis, is he equally as secure that the forecast target of 15 million visitors a year is still achievable?

“Our research shows that more theme parks and attraction entertainment venues are needed and the demand is there, but I believe we need to expand and verify the offering. Dubai has built itself as a strong brand and destination and in terms of family fun and culture, Dubailand will build on and complement trends by offering a new attraction to redefine the fun experience,” he says.

“This is a new concept for this region and within a five hour flight from Dubai we are targeting 1.8 billion consumers and 300,000 million Arabs,” says Al Habbai. “Our local tourists will represent our home base and repeated business, and world tourists will drive the bigger picture,” he asserts.

Building Dubai’s profile as a destination for short breaks and family visits will be critical to achieving these targets, however.

“We are currently formulating our distribution strategy and we have regional and international strategies to market our theme parks and our other attractions and hospitality provision,” says Al Habbai.

“This will be part of marketing Dubailand as a destination; it will not only be a theme park ticket, we will offer a variety of experiences.”

Marketing has already started for attractions such as F1-X through exhibitions last year like Arabian Travel Market, but Al Habbai says the focus will move to e-marketing to appeal to the “new generation”.

“Definitely I think that online is the way to improve the customer experience; that’s where we’re going with our booking and branding activities. And also via the travel agency or tour operators for the first year; we won’t forget them,” he says.

With F1-X due to be opened this autumn, then targeting more than two million visitors in 2010, it will be the first true test for Dubailand’s marketing strategy.

After all, the park’s launch is of great significance in that it will set a benchmark for Dubailand, but following as it does the F1 Grand Prix in Abu Dhabi in November, there’s plenty to capitalise on. Perhaps shrewd timing and a focus on the UAE as a destination will be the name of the game for Dubai’s mega leisure project.

Cidade verde emerge do deserto (MASDAR CITY)

Postado por: raquel em 01/fev/2009 | Sem Comentários

About 10 miles along the motorway out of Abu Dhabi, Khaled Awad was trying his best to get visitors excited about a patch of scrubland. “This will be the city of the future,” he said, gesturing toward the shrubs and dirt. “Zero-carbon and run on totally renewable energy, it will be one of the first and biggest eco-clusters in the world.”

It takes some imagination. But Awad, head of development at Masdar City, insists that in a few years this plot of desert will be transformed into the most technologically advanced, environmentally friendly city in the world. Designed by the famed British architect Lord Foster, the 6.5 square kilometre “city of the future” will be suspended on stilts 20 ft above the ground, increasing air circulation and reducing the heat transferred from the hot desert floor.

It will be split into three decks that separate transport from residential and public spaces and cars won’t be allowed anywhere. “With the design, we wanted to shock the public, to get them thinking about the possibilities of what a city can be,” said Awad.

On the lower deck residents will be ferried round the city by thousands of Personal Rapid Transport Pods, which look like space-age buggies for four people. They are controlled by touch screens and guided by sensors in the ground.

About 20 ft above will be the main pedestrianised street level, where businesses, shops and homes will be located. It will be vehicle-free except for Segway personal transporters and bicycles. Overhead, a light railway will run through the heart of the town and connect to Abu Dhabi City.

Transport will be one of the biggest differences between this city and traditional ones. Gerard Evenden, senior partner at Foster + Partners, said: “The difficulty with driverless vehicles is the interface with humans. You can’t control humans. By layering the city, we can make the transport system super-efficient and the street level a much better experience. There will be no car pollution, it will be safer and have more open spaces. Nobody has attempted anything like this.”

Water will be drawn from dew and a solar-powered desalination plant. Most of the electricity for the 50,000 residents will be generated by solar panels on every roof and hung over the narrow alleys where they will double as sun shades to keep the temperature low and reduce the need for air conditioning.

Non-organic waste will be recycled. Organic waste will be converted into fuel for power plants. Dirty water will be processed and used to irrigate green spaces. Overall, Masdar City will need about a quarter of the energy of a normal city of comparable size. It will produce no waste, emit no carbon dioxide, and the project will be completed by 2016.

That’s the plan anyway. Today, all that can be seen from the viewing platform are a few tractors and a pair of cranes in the distance, working on the first component of the city, the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, a university that will specialise in renewable-energy technology.

In total, the city will cost $22 billion. Sultan Al Jaber, chief executive of Masdar, Abu Dhabi’s renewable-energy company, has called it the “heart” of the initiative he is leading to convert the emirate, one of the world’s most profligate energy-using petro states, into a model of green technology.

Of the $15 billion that Masdar, the company, has to invest, $4.5 billion has been set aside to get the city off the ground. Awad hopes to raise the rest from partners and future tenants of what he says will be a “living laboratory” for a non-fossil-fuel-based existence.

“The problem with the renewable-energy industry is that it is too fragmented,” said Al Jaber. “This is where the idea for Masdar City came from. We said, Let’s bring it all together within the same boundaries, like the Silicon Valley model.”

Making this a reality will be difficult. In the best of times coming up with the extra $18 billion for a science project of such monumental scale would not be easy. Trying to do it in the middle of the worst financial crisis since the Great Depression and a precipitous devaluation of Abu Dhabi’s primary resource will be even more challenging. The oil price has dropped about 70% since its peak last summer.

Al Jaber brushed off such concerns. “We are looking beyond the downturn,” he said. “Nothing has been delayed, nothing has been postponed. We are in this for the long term.”

Part of the city’s running costs will by covered by the UN’s Clean Development Mechanism, the controversial scheme under which companies can earn carbon credits by funding low-carbon schemes in the developing world. Awad expects collect up to 1m credits each year that he could sell on the open market. At today’s prices, that would mean an extra $15m a year.

The “eco-city” idea isn’t new. China has begun work on one in Tianjin. In Britain, up to 10 “eco-towns” have been proposed, but these are a universe away from the ambitions of Masdar. Al Jaber told a US congressional hearing last summer that, “the city will be the blueprint for the cities of the future”.

It is a central part of the pledge the emirate made last month to increase the energy it generates from renewable resources from virtually nothing today to 7% by 2020. Some big names have already taken the plunge. GE has signed up as the first tenant, and MIT is a sponsor of the university.

It won’t be as green as it seems. Food will have to be imported. The rail system to Abu Dhabi City will not be enough for the expected traffic, so Masdar City will be ringed by large car parks for those who want to drive there.

Development experts also point out that cities simply don’t appear but grow organically. What seems to work on the drawing board may fare less well in the real world. Indeed, not far from Abu Dhabi’s future is its present: a jumble of half-built skyscrapers, traffic jams and pollution.

Would it not be better to plough $22 billion into improving a city where people are already living and working?

“Cities over the past 50 years have been models for abusing technology. We want to change that,” said Awad. “If we make a success of the city, it won’t any longer be, ‘Why Masdar City?’. It will be: ‘Look at what Masdar City has done, now why not China? Why not India?”

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