Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Masdar City – the Sustainable Community

Image Montage by Wo-Built: Masdar City Master Plan & Actual Masdar Institute Building in Masdar City
Images Credit/Source: Masdar - A Mubadala Company: Masdar City Image Downloads

Masdar City – the Sustainable Community is not just for Dreamers anymore.
Sadly, it’s just not for Torontonians yet either.

Let’s face it, Canadians are safe. We don’t like rocking the boat—at home or abroad—and we certainly don’t make a big deal about being the first, the best, the most, etc. Sure, we may like it when by some fortuitous accident we find ourselves on top or ahead of the curve, but we generally don’t hunger for it like some other places in the world — notaboy our neighbours to the South. And certainly, if Research in Motion (RIM) or Nortel are any indication, we are absolutely terrible at maintaining our technological edge, if ever we do acquire it.

It’s unfortunate that residents of Canada, Torontonians for instance, are nowhere nearer to living in a truly sustainable community. No, that accolade goes to Masdar City in the United Arab Emirates. A project whose mission is:
"To advance renewable energy and sustainable technologies through education, research and development, investment, commercialization and adaptation."
Source: Masdar - A Mubadala Company: About Us

The following Masdar City promotional video says it all.

Masdar City is the world's first sustainable city - it's taking shape in Abu Dhabi, UAE.
Uploaded by Hayes Thompson on Jan 18, 2010

A List of Masdar City Values reads like the philosophy of PeapodLife Building EcoSystems & Technology:
  1. Agility – The ability to switch from one technology to another but retain a sound footing based on a balance of best value and state of the art know-how.
  2. Commercial Viability – To ensure the widespread adoption of any sustainability technologies, they must be made commercially viable. While some environmentalists may be anti-capitalist, we feel rewarding investors for investing in people, planet and profits is a perfectly acceptable strategy for building a better world built on social, environmental, economic values (SEE-V).
  3. Sustainability – There is simply no point in embarking on a new system or course of action unless we consider all known factors—and best guesses as to what lies down the road—to ensure it will perform as needed for decades to come.
  4. Grounded in Reality – Dreaming is for bedtime, science fiction and video games. Doing is for those able to ground their imagination in the roots of what is achievable today: financially, technologically, socially, environmentally, et al. Deep down we are all dreamers, but the key to being a successful dreamer is remembering Lao Tzu’s wisdom: “a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.”

So do these values translate to Canada? PeapodLife says: absolutely! As for the “vast distances” we have to travel in this country, Masdar is incorporating two ultra-modern, ultra-high-tech approaches to transit, both imported from Europe: Personal Rapid Transit for in-town personalized subterranean transport, and the Superbus (from the Netherlands), for high-speed transport between cities.

Superbus, a new clean energy public transport vehicle, visited Masdar city in Abu Dhabi.
Uploaded by Masdar VideosChannel on Apr 21, 2011

It’s such a shame that Canada has seven important factors in common with UAE, but not the political will nor entrepreneurial drive to pursue our own version of Masdar.

The seven characteristics Canada and UAE have in common are as follows:
  1. Canada and UAE are wealthy countries with oil revenues.
  2. Canada and UAE with climatic extremes (cold and hot).
  3. Canada and UAE have lots of available development land.
  4. Canada and UAE seem to share a fundamental concern for the environment and long-term sustainability.
  5. Canada and UAE are in close proximity (and economic relationship) with economic superpowers.
  6. Canada and UAE are known around the world as a “land of possibility / opportunity”
  7. Canada and UAE are both cosmopolitan nations; active destinations for both tourism and investment.

But whereas UAE is looking to the future and the impending oil crisis—and with a project like Masdar City is moving preemptively to reinvent itself for the new energy economy—what is Canada doing? Attracting direct foreign investment to develop a wealth of as-yet unexploited natural resources. For shame!

Well, we at Wo-Built and PeapodLife won’t stand for it. It may be an uphill battle ahead, but we are ready to bring our vision for sustainable buildings and indoor ecosystems to Canada and the world, and join the likes of Masdar City and others trying to not just dream or talk, but act.

Attila Lendvai
VP of Strategic Development
Wo-Built Inc. - Innovative Design and Build

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