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Going Green or Going Gaga?

Going Green or Going Gaga?

Eva Fernandes was absolutely tickled by news that Dubai is building a ‘green’ city a day after it held off implementing green building codes until she realised it was no joke.

April 21, 2011 2:20 by

Trusty old Gulf News reported that Diamond Developers announced that it was finalising plans to develop the first sustainable city in Dubai. This new sustainable city will not only accommodate 2,500 families but will also include a university with three faculties, two schools and a series of government departments.

While the residents will be happy to travel on a sustainable transport system that uses solar-powered vehicles, they will also be glad to boast that they live in a city that cuts carbon emissions by more than 75 percent than the rest of Dubai.

Faris Saeed, Chairman of Diamond Developers told Gulf News, “the development will be instrumental in stamping the UAE’s fingerprint on the world map, for the progressive initiative and its meticulous attention to every detail.”

Progressive initiative? Meticulous attention to every detail?

Where in the world does Kipp begin? How about in Abu Dhabi? We tried to stop ourselves from using the M-word, but that last comment from Mr. Saeed really pushed us to it: MASDAR.

Remember that wonderful ambitious project that started out with claims of being the first completely green city? ‘100 percent carbon-free’, was the particular slogan Masdar chose to promote itself, rightfully so. It was a noble effort, but as Masdar found out the hard way, not very practical.

Slowly the reports came tumbling in, one after the other: first it was news the environmentally friendly city had pushed back its deadline by four years to 2020, with a few saying it was very possible the project might even take until 2025. Then we heard the city was no longer going to rely solely on on-site clean energy sources—(the very thing that separated Masdar City from other such green projects) pushing Kipp to wonder whether Masdar might just be the Lindsay Lohan of green projects, or the Nakheel of the renewable energy world?

Considering the case of Masdar, this rather troubling report from Gulf News does beg the question: are our Diamond Developer friends really serious?

Consider the following: They’re adding final touches to a property project in a market that is not only saturated but badly hit by the recession and does not look likely to recover anytime soon; Going green is an exceedingly expensive affair, just as Dubai’s recent announcement to stall the enforcement of the green building code to 2014 proves; and the fact that sustainable development is unfamiliar territory prone to severe setbacks, as Masdar very well proves.

One would think that our friends at Diamond Developer would use the opportunity to learn from the setbacks and misconceptions its compatriots have had to publicly go through and know that this might not be the best time to unveil such ostentatious plans.

A line from the movie Forrest Gump comes to mind…and it’s not the one that talks about the chocolates or the running…let’s just say it’s a “stupid” line.

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  1. on May 10, 2011 5:20 pm

    I believe that the topic of ‘sustainability’ needs to be put on focus a lot more. At the moment there are some companies concentrating on urban issues: However, a lot more needs to be done. However, I also understand that financial issues still need to be solved but on the other hand, after the events in Japan, we have all realized that we can’t just continue our energy-wasting lifestyles

  2. Andrew on May 11, 2011 11:55 am

    Rather than trying to be Masdar (and not even Masdar can do that), they’d be better off encouraging the use of Estidama.


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