Is it possible to create a perfect city? This has been tried before, with varying degrees of success, with the creation of cities such as Brasilia in Brazil, Canberra in Australia and Arcosanti right here in the US, but the most successful cities seem to be those that rose up naturally (although some may be sinking down again). Now the Middle Eastern country of Abu Dhabi is trying to create a city that is environmentally perfect. And in the US, city planners are warned not to build too close to the coasts, because global warming will cause floods.

BBC News reports that Abu Dhabi has started to build “what it says is the world’s first zero-carbon, zero-waste car-free city.” It will be called Masdar and is expected to take 8 years to complete. It will be powered by solar energy and will have no cars?instead, people will move around the city on trains that have magnetic tracks.

Abu Dhabi is a major oil exporter and also uses huge amounts of oil and gas, expelling large amounts of greenhouse gases, despite its tiny size, leading the BBC to speculate that this new “green” city may be “just a fig leaf for the oil-rich Gulf emirate.”

In the March 12 edition of the New York Times, Cornelia Dean reports that city planners in the US are being warned to move roads, subway and rail lines, and airports away from the coasts since global warming will cause a rise in sea levels in the future. Dean writes: “In a report last September, the Miami-Dade County Climate Change Task Force noted that a two-foot rise by the year 2100, the prediction of the United Nation’s Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change, ‘would make life in South Florida very difficult for everyone.'” She quotes Henry G. Schwartz Jr., chairman of the Research Council panel, as saying, “It’s time for the transportation people to put these things into their thought processes.” Schwartz notes that 60,000 miles of coastal highways are already subject to periodic flooding, and says that city planners should avoid vulnerable areas: “roads, bridges, marine, air, pipelines, everything?We need to think about it now.”

In other words, the perfect city of the FUTURE, unlike the great cities of the past, will be built INLAND.

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