The Social Imperative in Sustainable Urban Development: The Case of Masdar City in the United Arab Emirates

Kasim Randeree, Nadeem Ahmed

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Citations (Scopus)
118 Downloads (Pure)


The purpose of this paper is to examine social sustainability effectiveness of eco-cities through the case of Masdar City’s strategy for urban sustainability in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates.
Using a case study approach, the paper is an exploratory, qualitative analysis, which investigates the social, environmental and economic performance of Masdar City, a purported carbon-neutral, zero-waste urban development.
Though Masdar City substantively contributes to innovation in sustainable urban development within environmental and economic contexts and has been effective in capital circulation in green technology markets, the impetus as a commercially driven enterprise is most evident. Successful sustainable urban development requires greater consideration for the social imperative.
Practical implications
Eco-city mega-projects such as Masdar City have the potential to fuse achievements in innovation, technology and economic enterprise with the social imperative of functional urban habitats.
Eco-cities are of increasing interest given the growing need for sustainable, energy-efficient living. This paper contributes through a novel case study, exploring how the concept of the eco-city has been developed and understood in the Masdar City context and discusses successes and deficits in its strategic implementation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)138-149
Number of pages12
JournalSmart and Sustainable Built Environment
Issue number2
Early online date21 Jul 2018
Publication statusPublished - 7 May 2019

Bibliographical note

Special Issue Paper: Sustainable planning, urban design & architecture in the Middle East & North Africa region

This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY 4.0) licence. Anyone may reproduce, distribute, translate and create derivative works of this article (for both commercial & non-commercial purposes), subject to full attribution to the original publication and authors.


  • Abu Dhabi
  • Eco-city
  • Masdar City
  • Sustainability
  • United Arab Emirates
  • Urban development

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Human Factors and Ergonomics
  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Building and Construction
  • Urban Studies
  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law


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