Consider: You’re living in a city where there is absolutely no car at all, where all your trash and garbage are sucked by vacuum to a central facility where those that can be recycled recycled and those that cannot be recycled undergo gasification to produce energy and the leftovers incorporated into building materials, where most of the electricity comes from solar panels, where the whole city is lifted 7 metres high by concrete columns to make room for under-the-city automated network of electric transport for you to move around, and a city where ultimately there is zero-car, zero-waste, and zero-emission.

Science fiction? You bet. Abu Dhabi has already started the construction of what it calls Masdar City that incorporates precisely all of the above, plus much much more. And they’re planning to complete it by 2016.

Masdar headquarters, shown in an architectural rendering, is designed to generate more renewable electricity than it consumes; it would be the first large-scale, multi-use building to do so. -- Credit: © MIT's Technology Review & Adrian Smith + Gordon Gill Architecture

Of course, a project this ambitious won’t be easy. This is the first time ever mankind has attempted to build a completely zero-waste, zero-emission, zero-car, functioning and profitable green city of this scale. There will be many technical hurdles in its path, as proven by other smaller-scale green project such as this. But heck, those Arabs have the will and they certainly have the money. When this project is completed, it will be a cornerstone in the world’s sustainable development and a reference for many other cities to follow. This is an exciting development indeed.

To read more about Masdar City, go to this MIT’s Technology Review article.