Trumped up by a sophisticated publicity campaign, Masdar City might be the only Middle Eastern city outside of Dubai, Jerusalem and Tehran that is internationally known. Certainly, it is the only “green city” that has received any kind of attention.
But there’s a new kid in town. Algiers might not have Masdar’s press power has, nor Foster & Partner’s star power. But their new initiative is still significant. The new city Boughzoul will not only reduce greenhouse gas emissions, but Algiers intends to use that model for all future city developments in the country.
Being built 200km inland of southern Algiers, Boughzoul aims to be a low-carbon city that doesn’t contribute to overall greenhouse gas emissions.
Every step of the project, from the ground up, will incorporate best practices in order to create a city model that is closer to being sustainable over the long term.
That is no easy task. According to the Chief of the Global Environment Facility (GEF), which is contributing $8.5million and heading the experiment, half of the world’s population lives in city and emit 70% of global energy-related carbon emissions.
In the construction phase, by creating zero-carbon buildings, outfitting streetlights with LED light bulbs, installing photovoltaic systems, and heating water with the sun, Algiers’ government, GEF, and the United Nations Environment Program (UNEP) expect to save 3.4 million tonnes of CO2 emissions. This is the equivalent to the amount of oil that Belgium uses in a day, about 600,000 tonnes.
In order to attract private investors to complement public investment, the government will offer tax incentives. After raising their own $22 million contribution to the new city, they also intend to create an environment that encourages technology transfer rather than horde their learning.
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