A visit to Masdar City, a meticulously planned mixed-use urban experiment, makes for a fascinating day spent exploring the development by foot and by the driverless pod cars that shuttle between the city and the parking area. The futuristic architecture quite literally incorporates the past: Look skyward and you’ll find the reflected images of the more traditionally constructed orange facades in the new shiny glass buildings. Wind towers, the traditional cooling method of the Gulf, have been incorporated into the modern architecture and serve an integral role in the city's cooling system. The first tenants moved into Masdar City in 2010 and the project’s final phase is slated for 2030.
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An ambitious urban design project, Masdar is a zero-emission city that combines a research institute, apartments, shops and cafés. Park outside the complex and take a driverless car to the center, where you read up on Masdar itself at the Knowledge Centre. Eat at any number of cafés (Barbacoa is a local fave; Osha serves local cuisine kicked up a notch), and enjoy the fact that all the energy being used is solar supplied.