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September 24, 2014

Masdar: Abu Dhabi's Sustainable City Presents Model For Meeting Planners (VIDEO)

A recent article and video entitled "Sustainable City of the Future Has No One In It" by Julien Eymeri of Quartier Libre, a Paris-based innovation and strategy consultant, presented Abu Dhabi's $18 billion Masdar City investment as something of a white elephant.

But while the deserted city may not have seen the anticipated influx of high-tech companies, it is still a prime opportunity (and model) for business event planners. In fact, this investment by the capital of the United Arab Emirates has much to offer urban planners and sectors contributing to sustainable urban development.

Located six miles from Abu Dhabi City and closer still to the city's airport and its flagship exhibition and convention center (ADNEC), Masdar City is an impressive achievement in zero-carbon living and a working example of how cities could evolve in the future. In fact, to use, learn and experience such an environment first-hand as the educational and experiential centerpiece to congresses and business events from within relevant sectors would be an intriguing delegate offer.

And one of the subsequent comments by Aladin Mokri posted below Eymeri's video and article gave further insight into the potential knowledge on tap:
"Here is a testimony from someone who lived in Masdar City for over 3 years. Masdar City was a crazy idea since the very beginning. It was meant to be a breakthrough on how cities will be designed in the future. Here are the facts: 1- the city hosts the International Renewable Energy Agency, 2- host the only sustainability-focused engineering school in the world, 3- host of the most advanced transportation practices in the world: solar cars, fast charging stations, driverless cars, etc. 3- host of advanced solar technologies that the world: using solar energy for cooling and heating buildings, a testing facility of 3rd generation solar panels, building-integrated solar panels, etc. 4- host of advanced practices for designing buildings by using recycled materials, usage of day lighting, etc (a building in Masdar City consumes 50% less power and 50% less water than a similar building in Abu Dhabi). 5- host of the largest power plant in the middle east."

The Challenges 

No one is pretending that Masdar has achieved its stated aims as a future knowledge hub and living experiment in sustainable living. But as a source of knowledge, it is most certainly myth turned reality. Aside from a growing student population and a handful of corporations (including Siemens), the city is decidedly under-populated...but it remains an opportunity to experience first-hand a glimpse into how sustainable urban development could materialize – a reality that scientists, technologists, and energy consultants would surely find appealing within the context of a business event.
The immediate success of the launch of The World Future Energy Summit at ADNEC became an iconic example of how successful events could be when staged within the emirate. Indeed, the event now forms a central role within a cluster of events under the umbrella of "Abu Dhabi Sustainability Week". That event was sponsored by the Masdar Institute itself and set the tone for the UAE reinvesting a hydrocarbon dividend into a renewable energy and sustainable living knowledge hub that is now available for all to view and experience. Planners of events seeking content to support the delegate offer should therefore take note and "walk the walk" in Masdar.
Read Eymeri's full article here

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About the Author: James Latham

James Latham





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