Monday, March 29, 2010

Lunar Concepts Come to Earth

There's a program on BBC tonight, part of their "costing the earth" series. This one's about Masdar, a proposed city in Abu Dhabi's nearly moonscape desert. Look at it as kind of a terraforming exercise. The project, by Foster and Partners, is being constructed for the ruler of Abu Dhabi, Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, who is paying for it. It's actually a venture capital enterprise, consisting of an entire city initially funded by oil capital. "Global city for the future of energy" is the tagline.

Masdar is an energy company with venture capital backing that manages the Masdar Clean Tech Funds, a series of diversified venture capital investment vehicles focused on building portfolios of direct investments in some of the world’s most promising and pioneering technologies in clean tech and renewable energy. The concept video is here. It's a bit like living inside of a corporate industrial megalith of some kind, and I would imagine the social structure would be very different from that which is found in most older urban cities. Particularly since this is an Arab country under Muslim laws, and the entire city is privately owned and controlled. Render porn is by Foster, voice over by a Utopian fantasist. Is this how Brasilia got started?

The Masdar City site is here, being marketed at the world's first carbon-neutral, zero-waste city. A discussion, photos and information about Masdar City is also here at the Skyscrapercity site.

Jumping into real "space" is also part of Foster's portfolio, the Spaceport America in New Mexico. It's a fascinating structure with a look to future industry in low earth orbit.