Sunday, September 25, 2011

A City Within a City: Masdar City

It was one of those few occasions that my husband and I decided to explore the city and look for good eats. So we picked Masdar City.

I first heard about Masdar city from an officemate. My curiosity was piqued when she told me about solar panels and driverless cars. That I've got to see. It was not the food and the cost of the food. It was what the city was all about. So I began to learn about this city within the city.

Masdar city was planned and built to be sustainable and energy efficient city. Every aspect of the place is a product of thorough research of maximizing the space, the location of windows and doors, even the shadows that will be cast by the buildings are being considered.

Going there was quite tedious, despite the printed map I got from their website, the going there was simply different from what you read on the directions. So we took Airport Road taking the road heading to Dubai. There were signages that indicates Masdar city and Presidential flight. We took two wrong turns that's why we ended up driving for nearly an hour just to look for the place.

The institution is a working progress. Ongoing construction activities are evident when you enter the area. Only a few streetlights were being used so there are dark areas. Some guards are scattered in the area and they could give you directions going to the main building entrance.

When we got to the parking area. We went through an entrance where a receiving area is decked with the scale size model of the entire city is in the center. A big screen of a world map is showing packets of information about demography and environmental issues of every country in the world. on the other side of the receiving area is individual doors where the driverless cars are parked. They call this the PRT (Personal Rapid Transit).

Excited to try out this technology, we head to the available car and took the ride going to the main commercial area. The 2 minute ride was pretty fun. The interior of the car has two seats facing each other. A screen on the right side shows information about the city. What is amazing about this driverless cars, it doesn't have train tracks where it moves. I was so impressed.

Then we get there, and asked some directions going to Sumo restaurant. We took the stairs and another door and a turn to right, and we saw this huge open courtyard where the restaurant is located and a tall tower is standing tall in the middle of the courtyard.

We were the only customer at Sumo. I ordered Beef BBQ and hubby ordered Chicken Katsu plus gyoza ramen. I was so ecstatic because they have gyoza. We didn't wait too long for our order, and it was all sumptuous. Plus the price was not that high. Total cost for the dinner was AED 125.00

We walked a little around the courtyard, and realized that tower housing a lighted structure inside is one of the energy storage from the solar panels that lights up the city. Fantastic.

Since it was already late, we didn't roam around more. But with everything that has been complicated and are already running, the place has definitely the potential of finally presenting that a sustainable city is possible if we are going to pursue it.

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