The BBC recently published a quite extraordinary piece of public relations on Masdar, the proposed eco-city in Abu Dhabi. Quite how this passed the editors and subs I will never know.
Meanwhile, the more sober and less lightweight TheAtlantic.com, has what may be the real story, here.
The truth is not clear, at least to a blogger with limited time to investigate properly. (Let's be honest, I write these things quite quickly and hope experience allows me to get away with it :)
But The Atlantic piece has some compelling lines within it which may be telling for Masdar. Notably, that:
"...Global financial woes, however, are undermining the project's ambitious scope and putting its 2016 completion target in doubt. Developers are now planning to test-drive a portion of the city in 2013 and base further development on commercial response."
Those in favour of Eco-cities (and the jury is still out in my view) may be hoping Masdar does not go the same ways as the now infamous Dongtan, the never-existent non-starter eco city near Shanghai, that fooled the global press for a while. More on that at these links:
Whatever happened to the Dongtan eco-city?
Greenwasher – December 2009 / January 2010.
For those interested in how to avoid the mistakes of the past on eco-towns/villages, at least in China (which is admittedly a bit different from Abu Dhabi!) this article may be of use:
China’s eco-towns: Green communities – To go eco, think small.