Keywords: renewable energy region, 100% renewable energy self sufficiency region, Dubai’s self sufficient Ecotopia.
February 2009, the Dubai Chamber of Commerce authorized the development of “free zone” dubbed Food City (Figure 1 and 2). GCLA, a green landscape architect firm, proposed a master plan for the city sector turn it into an off-the-grid, self sufficient metropolis. GCLA’s future-forward urban quarter incorporates an extensive list of sustainable urban planning ideas: vertically stacked landscape surfaces, artificial roof landscapes, renewable energy systems (Figure 3), aquatic farms, and thermal conditioning.
GCLA has described their proposal for Food City as “the marriage of landscape and urbanism”(Figure 2). Their project integrates a variety of proposals to decrease energy overall use – concentrated solar collectors, towers covered in thin-film photovoltaic cells (Figure 3), piezoelectric pads in pedestrian areas, and methane harvesting through sewage percolation tanks.
GCLA also proposes water conservation measures critical to off-the-grid survival in water-starved Dubai, like atmospheric water harvesting, solar desalination through concentrated solar collectors, grey water recycling, and application of hydroponic sand to minimize water loss.
Concept of Food City
Food City concept was driven by the following ideas:
- Inverted landscape where the roof of the entire development was created as an artificial landscape formation of sweeping topography that becomes a continuous agricultural mat for the planting of traditional multiculture oasis plants, public park, and also the grazing of livestock.
- Layered landscape where the landscape is multiplied many times through the creation of vertically stacked landscape surfaces resulting in overall green area exceeding of undeveloped site.
- Carbon surplus off the grid where all systems relating to water, energy, and matter are dealt with on-site through renewable means and release surpluses to export from the site. This includes solar, wind, bio-fuels, methane, and kinetic energy.
- Iconic vertical farm creation of 3o storey vertical farm capable to produce enough organic food for a population of 50,000 inhabitants within the development boundaries and including a beam-down concentrated solar array for energy generation and desalination.
- Aquatic farms for cultivating, harvesting, and research of fish and pearl oyster species of the Arabian Gulf created in the seafront and accessible from the public beaches.
- Thermal conditioning using shade, water, wind corridors and natural phenomena like ground-source cooling to create comfortable exterior environment at all times every year.
- Zero waste city where the key systems cycles keep under control sustainability (energy, water, and matter) were designed as fully circular systems ensuring no imports or exports of waste.