We’ve been hearing about Dubai’s version of Masdar City since 2011, but skeptics have doubted that “Sustainable City” would ever become more than a mirage in the desert. Not anymore, according to local news reports.
Diamond Developers has announced plans to officially launch their latest project – a 120 acre green city – at the Sustainable Real Estate Conference to be held in Dubai next month. Reportedly inspired by the net zero UC Davis West Village campus in California, the city intends to produce 50 percent of its own renewable energy.
More village than city
Different facts are emerging about the size and scope of Diamond Developers’ Sustainable City, but a moderate news report from The California Aggie suggests that the city will accommodate roughly 2,500 residents.
Which makes it more like a village than a city, but perhaps we’re being pedantic.
“After visiting UC Davis West Village during its initial development in 2010, Faris Saeed, a Middle Eastern housing developer, was inspired to create a sustainable city near Dubai in the United Arab Emirates,” the paper reports.
The West Village is reportedly the largest existing net zero [energy] community in the United States, and therefore a tangible example of what can be achieved when design, technology, finance and political will all join hands.
“The plan is a collaboration around the establishment of an environmental research institute and a social research center,” Suad Joseph, UC Davis professor of anthropology and women and gender studies, told the paper.
Joseph added that eventually UC Davis faculty will help to train professionals and students of a college that is planned to be constructed as a part of Sustainable City.
Solarized and sustainable
Diamond Developer’s CEO Faris Saeed, who personally toured the UC Davis West Village last November, told local press that the company will unveil specific plans on May 1st at the real estate conference, which will be held at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Center.
“Each house will produce its own electricity by using solar panels,” according to Saeed, who added that “We have a sustainable transportation system to be used by the residents and their visitors to go around the city.”
(At one time it was suggested the alternative transportation strategy might include horses.)
An organic farm will produce local food, while a “green belt” of vegetation will provide shelter against sand storms.
And while it seems unfair to compare every new green development to Masdar City, and perhaps inadequate since Masdar has proven to be a multitiered organization with arms that stretch to all corners of the globe, it’s hard not to make the comparison.
Aware of this correlation, Saeed simply notes that it’s time for Dubai to shift to a greener development paradigm and he hopes his firm will set the benchmark not just for the emirate, but for the entire region.
Image adapted from Shutterstock vector of an Arab man and woman