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Building a carbon-neutral city - Masdar City, Abu Dhabi, UAE
© Foster + Partners
Buidling a carbon-neutral city - Masdar Abu Dhabi
© Foster + Partners
Buidling a carbon-neutral city - Masdar Abu Dhabi
Masdar City Conceptual View

The Masdar "Green" City

It is a bold step…to start a journey which is about achieving zero carbon and zero waste rather than continuing to debate whether or not it is possible. That is what the Abu Dhabi government did when it broke ground on Masdar City, United Arab Emirates.

Project Overview

CH2M HILL is a major delivery partner for Masdar City, the first clean-technology cluster to be located in a carbon-neutral, zero-waste city. With such high sustainability targets, the city will be an innovator and pioneer in the implementation of innovative sustainable technologies for energy, water, and waste management. As such, the city will be creating a blueprint for urban sustainable development around the world. Masdar City’s aim is to show the extent to which cities can be sustainable, while offering world-class living and working environments, thereby changing the global landscape by showing what’s possible.


Within the limits of Masdar City, the plan is to include water treatment plants, recreational areas and sports facilities, recycling centres, sewage treatment plant, a wind farm, and plantations of different tree species producing biofuels. This and so much more will establish Masdar City as the world's first fully sustainable city, combining traditional planning principles with existing technologies.

Making History

The projected impacts are huge. Inspired by the architecture and urban planning of traditional Arab cities, Masdar City incorporates narrow streets; the shading of windows, exterior walls, and walkways; thick-walled buildings; local vegetation and a pedestrian-friendly layout. Best practices in traditional urban planning will be combined with the most advanced practices and technologies in sustainable building and infrastructure design. All buildings will incorporate sustainable building standards currently set by internationally recognised organisations. Traditional usage of fossil-fueled cars and trucks will be minimised or eliminated in the city.  The combination of these design features provides the highest-quality living and working environment with the lowest possible carbon footprint.

CH2M HILL has been working with its client, Masdar of the Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company, since 2007 to develop sustainable built environment policies and procedures, pilot-test and implement new sustainable technologies, and assist in managing the design and construction of Masdar City.

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In the News

  • National Public Radio Highlights the Masdar Cargon-Neutral City
  • NPR highlights the Abu Dhabi Carbon-Neutral City
  • Learn more
  • "For those who doubt the possibility of a zero-carbon, zero-waste, sustainable city -- it is a lot like the U.S.’s challenge to put a man on the moon. No one knew how to do it but, the act of saying we were going to do it made the impossible happen."
  • — Jim Otta
  • CH2M HILL International Program Development Director
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