Going Green

Sowing the seeds of gardening-based change at Masdar City

Masdar city

The design for Masdar City in Abu Dhabi by ­Foster + Partners has gone through a series of evolutions since construction of the project began in 2006. Not least of these was the decision to introduce cars to the project’s plan, to facilitate better connectivity and enhance the city’s economic viability. It’s this theme of connectedness, both to the environment and to people, that has played a key part in shaping both the public spaces and the landscape architecture of the city.

Anthony Mallows, the director of Masdar City, explains how their approach has been fundamentally different to standard city planning. “Traditional city building would start off by saying that ‘buildings look like this and they are like that’, but by working in this way, the public realm and its landscape architecture has this environmental intention. Therefore the buildings have to support the public realm, and so the planning process is inverted,” he says.

Plans for the landscaping have been about responding to Estidama, the sustainability initiative developed by the Abu Dhabi Urban Planning Council, which was conceived to “imbue a new mindset that promotes the concept of living in harmony with our culture and environment”, and working towards its Four Pearl Community Rating. A key facet of this is achieving higher levels of sustainable design and practice, by adhering to these principles right from the very beginning of the design and build process.

Original article by Melanie Hunt

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Sowing the seeds of gardening-based change at Masdar City



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