This eco-friendly city in the UAE is populated only by robots


The United Arab Emirates’ pre-planned Masdar City is supposed to be a shining beacon of technology between its clean energy and automated cars. However, it has hit a few roadblocks, including the financial crisis from the last decade — and the result is less of a Utopia and more of a ghost town. If you need proof, Quartier Libre has posted an eerie video tour (below) of Masdar as it stood this summer. With just a few thousand residents, many of the buildings and high-tech facilities sit unused; it’s as if everyone suddenly went on vacation. The city should be more welcoming once it’s completed sometime after 2020, but for now it’s not exactly a tourist’s dream. Not unless you really enjoy haunted houses, that is.

Deep in the heart of a barren desert, 11 dusty miles southeast of the fantastically oil-rich Abu Dhabi, lies Masdar City — or at least the beginnings of what will someday become Masdar, a planned metropolis intended to house 10,000 people in a largely self-sufficient and carbon-neutral network, all built with the assistance of government seed money. Think of it like an environmentally friendly, super-fancy anthill built for humans, but with more self-driving pod cars and a 87,777-panel solar plant. Some would call this environmentally conscious, self-contained community an “arcology,” but on Masdar’s site it’s referred to as a “cleantech cluster.” Which definitely doesn’t sound like something out of Minority Report at all. Clearly there are some things about all this Masdar business that feel spectacularly sci-fi, so recently a group of explorers calling themselves Quartier Libre did us all a favor and took advantage of that fact, shooting a video of some of the the eerie, barely furnished sections of Masdar and dropping in a delightfully spooky soundtrack. As has been heavily publicized, Masdar is having trouble both meeting its expansion goals and attracting new citizens — after all, what good is a self-contained city when you still have to drive back to civilization to pick up groceries? — so there is a pretty distinct lack of human life going on out there.

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