Plans for a glittering new sustainable city are underway in the Middle East.
In May, developers began selling property in Yiti, a community in Oman that promises to generate 100% of its energy, recycle water and waste, and eventually be “net-zero” for harmful carbon pollution (basically meaning it won’t release more than it cleans up or avoids).
According to the city’s website, it’s “designed to improve the quality of life for residents without compromising the needs of future generations” and to be a “working model for future cities.”
Yiti, an extension of the capital city of Muscat, is located near an international airport and overlooks the scenic Gulf of Oman. At one million square meters (about 250 acres), the development will feature more than 1,650 residential units, including 300 energy-efficient villas in areas free from vehicle combustion, according to the online platform Ground Report.
Per Ground Report, Yiti will install solar panels on buildings and use solar power and storage to reduce electricity bills by 100%. Gardens and greenhouses within the city will produce food locally, and irrigation systems will use recycled water.
Other notable features of the city will include a “Green Spine” of plantings that run through the town, a “See Lab” for sustainability learning, and a “Sustainable Mosque” built with an eco-friendly design. To facilitate good health, Yiti will have a wellness center, a center to help people with autism, a sports park, about 4.6 miles of running and cycling track, and more.
The city’s developers also plan for Yiti to be a uniquely eco-friendly tourist destination with a 4-star hotel and a 5-star seaside resort.
Officially branded The Sustainable City — Yiti, the community is a collaboration between the government-owned Oman Tourism Development Company (Omran) and sustainable development firm Diamond Developers. With investments of about one billion dollars, it’s the first phase of a master plan for development in the area.
Yiti’s development is aligned with the government’s Oman Vision 2040, a 20-year plan to diversify the oil-focused country’s economy and make it more sustainable. The city also takes inspiration from the Sustainable City in Dubai that Diamond Developers oversaw.
Cities worldwide represent both tremendous problems and opportunities in the quest for a cleaner, healthier future.
“Over half of the world’s population lives in cities, and this is likely to increase to over two thirds by 2030,” reported United Nations-Habitat Executive Director Maimunah Mohd Sharif in 2019. “Cities use a large proportion of the world’s energy supply and are responsible for around 70 percent of … greenhouse gas emissions, which trap heat and result in the warming of Earth.”
However, Sharif added, “Huge gains, in terms of reducing harmful gases, can be made by changing how we plan, build, manage, and power our cities and towns.”
This makes cities like Yiti especially important as examples of strategies that can work for other places — and as testing grounds for new, climate-friendly technologies.
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