Haim Dotan’s Tao of Architecture

Israeli  Haim Dotan incorporates the soul of nature into his art and architecture Few things make our green hearts soar more than an architect with a gentle, artistic, nature-loving touch. Although we learned this week that cave homes built into volcanic rock withstood seven centuries of time’s wrath, it is also true that dense urban […]


Solar Power To The People Of Abu Dhabi

Will Abu Dhabi’s citizens choose solar panels for their roofs when electricity prices go up? The residents of the United Arab Emirates capital, Abu Dhabi, will soon experience three major changes as the Abu Dhabi Distribution Company electricity supplier plans to install a meter for every apartment and a solar panel on every roof, according […]


Masdar City: Small Hiccups, Or Total System Failure?

Masdar City has experienced knee-buckling setbacks, but we haven’t heard the last of them just yet Masdar City is hanging on tenterhooks. After questioning the dicey science of carbon credits for big energy companies, we then published assurances by Masdar’s CEO Sultan Al-Jaber that although the project will be delayed because of certain hiccups – not […]


GE Ecomagination Centre in Masdar City

Abu Dhabi’s oil wealth funds energy infrastructure transformation with General Electric at the helm. In 2005, a light bulb went off for GE, which pledged to spend $1.5 billion on alternative technology by 2010.  Their Ecomagination department eclipsed that goal in 2009 and has recently committed a further $10billion to the cause. Masdar City in […]


Kids in Cairo Survive on Crusts and Crumbs

It’s hard to think green, when you’re thinking about your next dinner. A UN story documents the lack of protein in Egyptian children, and that a whopping 16% of all kids living there are malnourished. For seven-year-old Ahmed Yasser, it is normal to have just a crust of bread to munch on throughout the afternoon […]


Robert Upton’s Philosophy of Planning and the Middle East

“How Do We Want to Live?” asks England’s Former Secretary-General of the Royal Town Planning Institute Robert Upton at an urban planning conference in Israel. Whereas Colombian planner Oscar Diaz (who we interviewed here) was practical and sited specific planning examples at the anniversary conference at the Technion-Israel’s Institute of Technology,  England’s planner Mr. Robert Upton’s […]


Oscar Diaz and Colombia’s sustainable cities

Mr. Oscar Diaz Inspires Israeli Planners to Build For People, Not Cars. We promised to bring more news from the Technion-Israel’s Institute of Technology, where the Center for Urban and Regional Studies’ 40th anniversary conference was held yesterday, 3rd June 2010.  After brief greetings from representatives of The Center for Urban & Regional Studies, the […]


The Center For Urban & Regional Studies 40th Anniversary Conference

Oscar Edmundo Diaz and Robert Upton Are Expected to Share Urban Planning Pearls With Israel [image via Technion-Israel Institute of Technology] Before globalization,  ideas and technology ambled across the oceans and progress piddled along.  Now cooperation happens in seconds.  Microseconds even.  And though not all ideas are equally useful,  there’s no question that when great […]


Geotectura's Visual Feast, Out of the Box

“The Sufi Order International (SOI) community desired to build an interspiritual temple called the ‘Universel’ at the Abode of the Message located in the Berkshire Mountains near New Lebanon, New York,” taken from Geotectura’s online literature. Although we previously covered their  Greenest Building in Israel, which is currently in the process of acquiring LEED certification, as […]


Fishing for Peace in Gaza at TEDx

Students in Tel Aviv propose business “net” – work for peace. Left to right: David Welch, Ohad Kot, Danielle Angel, David McGeady and Osher Perry from Nets of Peace. As one of the largest seafood producers in the Middle East, Israel’s innovative fish-farming industry is booming. Just a few miles downshore in Gaza, though, fishermen […]


Cairo's Green Lung – Al-Azhar Park

From garbage dump to municipal park. The impressions of Alexandria I shared in a recent post were largely negative, so here I’ll present a happier picture: a green oasis in Cairo built upon a former garbage dump. The photos are mine; the background information comes mainly from


Rawabi, the First Planned Palestinian City

Tractors carving up the face of a hill in preparation for the new town. (Photo credit: Green Prophet) About a half hour’s drive north of Ramallah, construction has begun on the first planned Palestinian city. Surrounded by sleepy hilltop villages and terraced olive orchards, Rawabi, which means “hills” Arabic, is being marketed as a green and […]


Saudi Splurges for Shanghai Expo 2010

Despite its claim to promote sustainable urban development practices, the world’s largest, disposable Expo invites irony and criticism. The first ever world fair took place in 1851 at Prince Albert’s behest.  That fair was initiated to display participating nations’ industrial prowess.  The tradition continues with ever-increasing largesse, culminating in this year’s World Expo that officially […]


Holyland and Israel’s Commons, The Government’s Song

A real estate scandal in Jerusalem reveals Israel’s government’s dangerous stance on the privatization of land development, and use of open spaces, Yosef argues. As the Israeli press reveals one new real estate scandal after another including but not limited to the Holyland complex in Jerusalem, the ease with which “developers” were able to purchase […]


Re-Assessing Masdar City

Is Masdar City a beacon for Middle Eastern development? It may take another 10 years to find out. We have been skeptical of Masdar City and Foster+Partners, the architects responsible for the emergent eco-city’s design, but BBC reporter Tom Reap’s recent article paints a compelling portrait of this dubious venture.  Although projected building costs are […]


Dubai-based Timelinks Designs Modern Ziggurat

Is it really sensible to squish one million people into this self-sustaining city/building? Like many of Dubai’s projects The World, which will exacerbate shoreline erosion and habitat loss, and Burj Dabai, reputedly the world’s tallest building, are flashy and expensive.  They are also divorced from the United Arab Emirates’ environmental hazards such as scant freshwater […]