It may seem strange that the emirate of Abu Dhabi, one of the planet’s largest suppliers of oil, is planning to build the world’s first carbon-neutral city.

But in fact, it makes a lot of financial sense. The 3.7-square-mile city, called Masdar, will cut its electricity bill by harnessing wind, solar, and geothermal energy, while a total ban on cars within city walls should reduce the long-term health costs associated with smog.

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Masdar will be filled with shaded streets to encourage walking. A solar-powered transit system will take you to the airport.

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Masdar is still on the drawing board — construction begins in January, with a very tentative completion date of 2009 — but the result will be watched closely around the world.

Maybe they read Car Free Cities by J.H. Crawford.