French photographer Etienne Malapert introduces us to The City of Possibilities, a documentary photography series that brings us to Masdar City - the world’s first “green city” in the desert.
In 2008, the United Arab Emirate decided to undertake the construction of an autonomous city "zero carbon and zero waste", located 30km east of the capital Abu Dhabi. The Masdar project is a perfect example of land linking architecture and environmental technology in anticipation of what might be called "post-oil".
“I’d heard of Masdar during my search for a project for my degree at ECAL in 2014. I was interested in territory management, how man adapts architecture according to a specific place,” says Etienne. “The idea of a green city in a place that produces most of the world’s oil seemed really interesting to me photographically.”
As designed, the city would be home to 45,000 to 50,000 people and 1,500 businesses, primarily commercial and manufacturing facilities specialising in environmentally friendly products. In turn, more than 60,000 workers are expected to commute to the city daily. As of 2016, fewer than 2,000 people are employed in Masdar, and only the 300 students of the Masdar Institute live on site.
Masdar City will be the latest of a small number of highly planned, specialised, research and technology-intensive municipalities that incorporate a living environment, similar to KAUST, Saudi Arabia or Tsukuba Science City, Japan.
Etienne Malapert's approach is to show the other side of this construction that is constantly changing. The walking trip allowed him to make a statement on the human, architecture and landscape of this city.