Eco-Cities: Dream Worlds or World Savers?

Eco-cities are the new craze, and what a wonderful craze that is.  The idea of a sustainable, self-contained, solar & wind powered city that produces no waste whatsoever makes my tree-hugging heart soar with joy and gives me a glimmer of hope for the future of our planet.  I don’t need to tell you how solar power, wind power, recycled rainwater, and magnetic cars can reduce a city’s carbon footprint.  That’s a no-brainer.  But what is the cost?  As much as I would love to lose my carbon footprint entirely, most environmentally-friendly technology is a little pricey, which makes it hard for the average working-class family to buy hybrid cars or install solar panels in their homes.  How expensive would an entire eco-city be?  Let me give you an idea.

The final bill for the Tianjin eco-city being built by Singapore and China is an estimated $9.7 billion.  The World Bank’s Project Portfolio estimated a starting price of only $64.06 million, but The Straits Times, a Singapore newspaper, claimed that officials set the price tag at $9.7 billion back in 2008, just a few months before the groundbreaking ceremony.

The eco-city of Masdar in the Arab emirate of Abu Dhabi, comes with a price tag of $22 billion.  (But the with the price of oil going up daily, that’s chump change to the United Arab Emirates.)

These cities are years away from completion, and so no estimations on property costs have been released. But with price tags like that, and room for less than 100,000 residents, you can bet that these homes will be on the higher end of the real estate scale. Don’t get me wrong, I think these cities are just what the world needs, and I applaud all the countries and companies investing in them. But the fact of the matter is that green is not only the color of a healthy planet, but of money, and you need the latter to make the former happen.


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