The Line in the Sand

by: James Platt-Hepworth

February 9, 2012

Abu Dhabi is looking towards the future. Situated in the crossroads of three major continents this small island capital of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) is considered as one of the fastest growing in the world today. A rich investment from international corporations and the presence of luxurious hotels, spas and leisure facilities at every corner Abu Dhabi is the epitome of a city that has risen in the desert from the oil up. However Abu Dhabi´s desire to be a market leader and global visionary has lead to the oil rich nation investing heavily in recent years towards a future based on renewable energies and sustainable development.

Masdar City, established in 2006, is a commercially driven hub for renewable energies and clean technologies aiming to be the first zero-carbon city. The development consists of 6 million square meters of a traditional planning principles of a walled city, together with existing technologies, to achieve a zero-carbon and zero waste community. In effect it plays its role as a pilot city where cutting edge green technologies, sustainable developments and clean-living standards are all applied to a living and moving city. Outside companies, corporations and start-up companies are quickly relocating in the hope of being able to apply their individual take on a sustainable future to a quickly growing and fast paced, real life, functioning community and environment.

Being home to 8 percent of the worlds proven oil reserves while also pertaining 5 percent of the worlds natural gas reserves, one might wonder why has Abu Dhabi taken to investing Billions of dollars into Masdar and the future of sustainable living? The nation which has had the benefit of being able to build its wealth and subsequent infrastructure on the reliance and growing need for energy has had the foresight and long term vision to be able to invest heavily in a plan based on future global demands. Realising the shifting sands the Emirate has implemented a 20 year plan in order to move with the times and change its economy from one founded inherently on natural resources to one based around knowledge, innovation and new-world technologies.

Considering the UAE, at current production rates, has enough hydrocarbon to continue producing for the next 100 years you have to start to wonder why nations far more reliant on imported oil reserves are not making the necessary adjustments to their own national policies. If nothing else has been proven but in recent times it is that those who do not evolve and constantly challenge the norm are bound to become collateral of progression.

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