Presented by: John Pratt
Review written by: Sheila Twine

Masdar City  and Years of Living Dangerously

Members of Mandurah U3A were fascinated by John Pratt’s presentation of an innovative city being built in the deserts of the Middle East. Unfortunately the audience was smaller than usual due to school holidays.   To compensate, John showed the video clips again the next day.

Masdar City, in Abu-Dhabi is being constructed in a totally sustainable fashion and powered entirely by various solar devices.  U3A members were thrilled to see the aspects of design which shaded buildings, and brought in cooling winds to central squares with louvered, water misted, wind towers. Another feature of design was the system of insulating building panels of sealed compressed air.  Because of these good design features, buildings use 50% of normal cooling and water requirements.

Bearing in mind this city is in the middle of a desert with temperatures soaring to 50*C, the entire cooling system is driven by the sun.  In an oil-rich country, the far sighted administrators have turned to renewable sources to power all their cooling and heating requirements.

Beneath the city, is a labyrinth of piping and roads.  Driverless cars, centrally controlled, follow magnetic strips for public transport.  Waste is also a prime focus, with all water and sewage products being recycled.  Left over materials from building are also seen as useful, with 95% being recycled as road base (concrete), mulch (wood waste), furniture (plastics) and all metals being re-used.

Masdar city, started in 2006, and anticipated to house 40,000 people by 2025 is a blue print for all to follow.  It set members thinking about what Australia should do in our vast open spaces.

You can view the YouTube videos about Masdar City here: and

John also showed us a video of models by an innovative 93 year-old American, Jacque Fresco, from the Venus Project in Florida. The models included circular, self-contained, linked towns. It showed concepts of under and above sea-level cities, set on continental shelves with apartments below water looking out on fish.
The Venus Project:

Jacque Fresco:

Finally the last episode in the ‘Years of Living Dangerously’ was shown:

An inspirational session, John.