Positioned about 17 kilometers away from the United Arab Emirates capital of Abu Dhabi, Masdar City bills itself as ''one of the most sustainable communities on the planet' [source: Masdar City].' The $19 billion city, a project of the government-owned Mubdala Development Company that was first conceived in 2006, functions as a testing ground for sustainable technologies and innovations.
So far, six buildings in Masdar City are operational: the campus of the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology (a relative of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology), apartments for its student body and instructors, and a smattering of commercial businesses all tied to an intelligent energy grid that monitors energy and water to help meet strict consumption limits. Architectural designs in Masdar draw on passive building designs to reduce energy needs, and the city draws much of its power from a 10-megawatt photovoltaic array on the outskirts of the city. Traditional cars are barred from entering the city, and residents travel either on foot or in a fleet of electric vehicles. A 147-foot-tall (44.6-meter) tower diverts winds to provide residents with a cooling breeze, and its LED display changes color to indicate whether apartment dwellers are adhering to the city's energy consumption standards.
The city has seen several setbacks, including delayed construction deadlines and low effectiveness from the photovoltaic system [source: Vidal]. Construction is planned for completion in 2025, allowing the city to house approximately 40,000 residents and 50,000 commuters [source: Masdar City].