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How to Build a Sandcastle: An Analysis of the Genesis and Development of Masdar City

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  • Federico Cugurullo

Abstract

Fuelled by an increasing diffusion of "green-consciousness" in urban politics, the eco-city has recently gained momentum. In the last decade, several governments from different areas of the world have approved plans for the construction of new master-planned urban developments aiming to find a balance with nature. The eco-city phenomenon is inscribed in a critical spatio-temporal context and its effects will arguably have a strong influence on our near future. Today, cities drain most of the global resources, have a major impact on the environment, and attract an increasing percentage of the world's population. Should the mainstream projections on 2050 prove to be correct, what we build now is and will be of primary importance. Hence, it is time to bring our current paradigms into question. This paper acknowledges the popularity that the eco-city has achieved in planning and mainstream discourses on sustainable development and aims to develop an understanding of the phenomenon on the basis of empirical analysis. More specifically, the paper focuses on the nexus between eco-cities and sustainability ideology to show how the latter is understood and applied in the development of new settlements. Using Masdar City as a case study, the three canonic dimensions of sustainability: the economic, the social, and the environmental, are here explored, and their respective weight evaluated. Ultimately, it will be shown how the foundations of the eco-city are strongly grounded in economic concerns and how the social and environmental aspects form only a layer aiming to hide the real nature of the phenomenon.

Suggested Citation

  • Federico Cugurullo, 2013. "How to Build a Sandcastle: An Analysis of the Genesis and Development of Masdar City," Journal of Urban Technology, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 20(1), pages 23-37, January.
  • Handle: RePEc:taf:cjutxx:v:20:y:2013:i:1:p:23-37
    DOI: 10.1080/10630732.2012.735105
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    File URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10.1080/10630732.2012.735105
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Federico Caprotti & Cecilia Springer & Nichola Harmer, 2015. "‘Eco’ For Whom? Envisioning Eco-urbanism in the Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-city, China," International Journal of Urban and Regional Research, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 39(3), pages 495-517, May.
    2. Premalatha, M. & Tauseef, S.M. & Abbasi, Tasneem & Abbasi, S.A., 2013. "The promise and the performance of the world's first two zero carbon eco-cities," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 25(C), pages 660-669.
    3. Bulu, Melih, 2014. "Upgrading a city via technology," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 63-67.
    4. repec:taf:cjutxx:v:24:y:2017:i:1:p:47-74 is not listed on IDEAS
    5. Changjie Zhan & Martin de Jong, 2017. "Financing Sino-Singapore Tianjin Eco-City: What Lessons Can Be Drawn for Other Large-Scale Sustainable City-Projects?," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 9(2), pages 1-17, February.
    6. Lee, Susan E. & Braithwaite, Peter & Leach, Joanne M. & Rogers, Chris D.F., 2016. "A comparison of energy systems in Birmingham, UK, with Masdar City, an embryonic city in Abu Dhabi Emirate," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 65(C), pages 1299-1309.
    7. Yigitcanlar, Tan & Lee, Sang Ho, 2014. "Korean ubiquitous-eco-city: A smart-sustainable urban form or a branding hoax?," Technological Forecasting and Social Change, Elsevier, vol. 89(C), pages 100-114.
    8. Gibbs, David & O'Neill, Kirstie, 2017. "Future green economies and regional development: a research agenda," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 68392, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    9. repec:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:12:p:2317-:d:122794 is not listed on IDEAS
    10. repec:gam:jsusta:v:9:y:2017:i:12:p:2311-:d:123073 is not listed on IDEAS

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