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Masdar City

Masdar City: On the Rocky Road To Sustainability

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Masdar City in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates (UAE), is one of the best hidden green secrets that has never been finished. “Never finished?”… one may inquire. Yes, Masdar City is a green ghost city that never crossed the finish line in a bold experiment of sustainable development from the ground up. But there is hope.


Using the Estidama Pearl Rating System to guide the design and construction of buildings, villas, communities, and public realm areas, Masdar City has taken “going green” to a new level; yet, still traveling a rocky road. And that journey has been quite perplexing. On the bright side, the city is not just building green structures for businesses and residents. Every type of project must meet minimum sustainable standards, creating a green way of life for anyone living or working in Masdar City. For example, the transportation system, still under development, does not use fossil fuels. Road infrastructures promote walking and bicycling. Though Masdar City faces numerous challenges in attempting to meet goals, development continues and each year brings unique approaches. This course reviews the Pearl Rating System applied to Masdar City development, describes various sustainable features included in projects to date, compares the Pearl Rating System to the LEED and BREEAM rating systems, and discusses the challenges the project has encountered.

What you will learn

  1. Describe the concept of Masdar City as a sustainable city, including the Master Plan and long-range goals
  2. Describe the elements of the Estidama Pearl Rating System – four pillars, seven categories, certification levels
  3. Describe the relationship of the Pearl Rating System for the community, building, villa, and public realm
  4. Compare the Pearl Rating System to LEED and BREEAM
  5. Describe the major elements of the Master Plan for Masdar City
  6. Provide a summary of the green features incorporated in projects
  7. Describe the completed projects
  8. Review the major challenges the development of Masdar City has faced

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