What if Abu Dhabi eclipsed Dubai in terms of sustainable development?
For how long will Dubai, the city of “material capital”, resist the rise of Abu Dhabi, the city that is positioning itself as a “cultural capital”? We’ll wait to see if Eithad airlines will by Emirates, and after having passed deals with the Sorbonne, the Louvre and Franck Gehry to construct a new Guggenheim museum, Abu Dhabi now has the resources to eclipse the artificial islands (that have for the most part been unoccupied since the recession) thanks to its fantastic eco-city Madsar. Construction has just begun on the city that wishes to be the symbol of its conversion to sustainable development. It is estimated that by 2016 the city will house over 90,000 citizens and aims to be “the world’s first zero carbon, zero litter, zero car city” (transport will be done by magnetic vestibules powered by solar energy). Instead of the artificial palm trees of Dubai, Abu Dhabi has giant “sunflowers” designed to trap heat in the day to disperse it at night, made by LAVA (Laboratory for Visionary Architecture), the agency retained to give life to the city designed by Norman Fraser.