Dubai: Masdar City has been one man's chance to design on a clean sheet, 'a sustainable city of the most ambitious undertaking', said Lord Foster, chairman and founder of Foster and Partners, the masterplanners behind Abu Dhabi's zero waste, zero carbon city.
"The biggest challenge is to realise the very ambitious goals set. We've learnt from traditional architecture about spacing and shading, however, less desirable quarters have been demolished as they don't answer the needs of the people in terms of access and mobility," Lord Foster told Gulf News in an exclusive phone interview on Tuesday.
The focus of the World Future Energy Summit this week, Masdar City incorporates an underground personal rapid transport system to take people in and around the community as it will be inaccessible to cars.
Lord Norman Foster, 73, founded Foster and Partners in London in 1967. Over the past 40 years the company has created a wide range of work, from urban masterplans, public infrastructure, airports, civic and cultural buildings. Masdar City is their third project in the UAE.
"Designing a city rather than inheriting a city, with keeping in mind access and keeping it pedestrian-friendly gives you the chance to create a community with very good connections," he said.
"It is better when you can look at infrastructure and mobility as well as the sustainability of buildings, the transport of people and goods as well. Making that connection can make inroads in sustainable communities which have never been done before," said Lord Foster.
Masdar City will be a walled city for a population of 40,000 residents. Outside the perimeter walls land will be used to produce renewable energy for the city and any extra will, for the first time in the Middle East go back to the national grid.
Lord Foster will give the closing keynote speech on Thursday at 4.45pm in Hall 5.