Small logo Subscribe to leading news on impact investing. Learn More
The Brief Originals Dealflow Signals The Impact Alpha Impact Voices Podcasts Agents of Impact Open
What's Next Capital on the Frontier Measure Better Investing in Racial Equity Beyond Trade-offs Impact en las Americas New Revivalists
Local and Inclusive Climate Finance Catalytic Capital Frontier Finance Best Practices Geographies
Slack Agent of Impact Calls Events Contribute
The Archive ImpactSpace The Accelerator Selection Tool Network Map
About Us FAQ Calendar Pricing and Payment Policy Privacy Policy Terms of Service Agreement Contact Us
Locavesting Entrepreneurship Gender Smart Return on Inclusion Good Jobs Creative economy Opportunity Zones Investing in place Housing New Schooled Well Being People on the Move Faith and investing Inclusive Fintech
Clean Energy Farmer Finance Soil Wealth Conservation Finance Financing Fish
Innovative Finance
Personal Finance Impact Management
Africa Asia Europe Latin America Middle East Oceania/Australia China Canada India United Kingdom United States
Subscribe
Features
Series
Themes
Community
Data
Subscribe Log In
More

What cities of the future can learn from their older peers



2030

Masdar in the United Arab Emirates was conceived a decade ago as a zero-carbon city in a region otherwise dependent on fossil fuels. Only five percent of the 2.3 million square miles allotted have been developed, but what’s there is 75 percent solar-powered.

That could be too much of a good thing, according to the researchers behind a new study published in the Renewable and Sustainable Energy Review.

Lack of power diversity means that “Masdar could be in danger of getting locked into certain renewable systems,” while overlooking opportunities to generate other types of clean energy, notes the report’s co-author Peter Braithwaite, a civil engineer at the University of Birmingham in the U.K.

In that respect, a highly advanced, ambitious city like Masdar could learn a thing or two from its older, industrial-era urban peers. Birmingham, U.K., which is 400 years old, runs mainly on fossil fuels. But it has begun diversifying its power sources, turning, for example, to methane generated from sewage as a fuels source.

Although cities with older infrastructure may be slower to evolve, urban centers like Birmingham survive because of an ability to adapt — something new cities will also have to be able to demonstrate, Braithwaite says. “Cities have to be able to innovate, experiment, and adapt to changing conditions.”

This post originally appeared in ImpactAlpha’s daily newsletter. Get The Brief.

Photo credit: Foster and Partners

You might also like...