Wednesday, 10 May 2017

A closer look at Masdar City

Yesterday I took part in another Tour Guide workshop through the Abu Dhabi TCA (Tourism & Culture Authority), this time at Masdar City. It was held at the Knowledge Center Auditorium and hosted by a few different speakers from the Corporate Relations Office at Masdar.

It was a very well organized morning, and really informative. I signed up as I didn't know much about Masdar previously, but after this workshop I am now ready to take clients there no problem! Really pleased, it was super interesting.

We got an introduction to Masdar Corporate and Masdar City, and also got introduced to some of their major events, like the popular Sustainability Week which is held each year in January.
Masdar's vision is to make Abu Dhabi the foremost source of renewable energy knowledge, development and implementation, as well as the world's benchmark for sustainable development. Masdar City is the home to one of the world's largest cluster of high-performance buildings constructed according to very strict building codes. It is also a Free Zone and it houses the Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, the world's first university focused on advanced energy and sustainable technologies.

We got a guided tour around the city, to get some ideas on how to plan a visit here.

We were only a small group, but very international as usual: a Dutch, a Mexican, a Russian, a Canadian, an Emirati, three French guides and me. Most actually from Dubai.

Can you see the blue behind the palm trees that looks like a lake? That is the Masdar solar photovoltaic farm. When it was built in 2009 it was the largest solar farm in the Middle East, although now there are other much bigger farms out in the deserts in the Western Region.

Masdar City incorporates many old-time design features which doesn't require energy to deliver benefits, features that have been used by the inhabitants here for millennia such as window shading, narrow spaces between buildings, a south-west orientation of the streets etc. These together with many other modern design features makes the city feel much cooler than other parts of Abu Dhabi.

This is a model of all the projects in operation that Masdar is involved in around the world. They have invested in projects in as various locations as Spain, Scotland, Jordan, Seychelles and Samoa to mention just a few.

Here is a model of the master plan for Masdar City. They are currently still in phase 1, which is supposed to be done by 2020; and they are planning for phase 5 and the whole city to be completed by 2030 in line with the Vision Abu Dhabi 2030.

The future Visitors Center which was actually built for this purpose, but also used as the UAE pavilion at the 2015 World Expo in Milan. It hasn't been reassembled here at Masdar yet but it will look really good once that's done.

After your visit you can leave your signature in the Masdar digital guestbook. When you sign on the screen, a software creates a computer generated art form based on your personal signature. You can then have that emailed to yourself, which will be a cool souvenir. Here's mine:

I was surprised that there was only nine of us participating. That the TCA organizes events like this, and all for free, is really helpful for us as Tour Guides. I guess we were lucky being just a small group though as we could ask all the questions we had.

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