Friday, May 11, 2007

A New Green City

The Inhabitat blog has posted an interesting piece on a new city in Abu Dhabi to be completely green. Designed by firm Foster + Partners, this 6 million square metre walled city (called Masdar) will be completely car-free, waste-free and self-sustaining. I wonder if it will consider the other 2 pillars of sustainability, social and economic. Hopefully this city will be a centre of innovation in Eco-City design, especially with the planned university within its walls.

When reading about this city, many other failed projects come to mind. We shouldn't forget that there was not one successful city that had been founded will the goal of Utopia that is still functioning on those principles. New Harmony, Indiana and even Radburn New Jersey come to mind. Radburn had gone bankrupt before the city could be completed (a very watered-down version of a Garden City), and New Harmony erupted in chaos.

Apparently the creators of this new green city have not down any research into the (un)success of creating new towns that are structured on completely new ideas. I just say why not focus on improving the cities and towns that exist today, before creating entirely new ones?


sarah said...

i totally agree! this reminds me of the dream of brazilia. i'm sure good intentions abound, but shouldnt this be a lot more grassroots to really function?

Jon said...

This goes well beyond brasilia. Brasilia was meant to function as a traditional city, but just within a completely planned and contrived urban environment. I compare it to the theoretical garden city and the utopian city because they attempted to go beyond fixing the urban environment and change the way the society functioned (socialist, mainly i think).

I agree with you about the grassroots bit. This seems to be something coming from a architectural/urban design firm, not something that is actually wanted or needed by a given population. I couldn't imagine such a thing though being more grassroots... it would be in the form of helping an already existing population...