Food City is Dubai's Latest Eco-venture

Dubai's never-ending slew of conceptual architectural designs tends to run together in my mind. They usually feature an outsized silver building of unconventional shape (perhaps situated on also unconventionally shaped man-made land). The new designs for Dubai's latest eco-venture are no exception.

According to Inhabitat, the Dubai Chamber of Commerce authorized the development of a free zone called Food City. Dubai's free zones are officially "offshore" no man's lands -- areas that fall outside of the UAE's legal code in order to attract international business. But with Dubai's economy looking more bust than boom, the emirate has decided to spin its latest venture toward sustainability instead of the gilded (literally) luxury it's known for.

Not to be confused with Abu Dhabi's Masdar City project or Dubai's Xeritown, Food City is touted as an "off-the-grid, self-sufficient metropolis" featuring every energy-saving or alternative-energy technology under the sun. Design proposals for the city sector include concentrated solar collectors, vertically stacked landscape surfaces, piezoelectric (people powered) sidewalks, towers covered in photovoltaic cells and methane sequestration.

Judging by the verdant shades that color the design illustrations, it's probably good that the arid Food City will also sport water conservation technologies like solar desalination, grey water reclamation, hydroponics and atmospheric water harvesting.

(And by the way, the name "Food City" doesn't mean the free zone will be a paradise of restaurants, chocolate factories and energy-efficiency; it's simply a development for wholesale food merchants.)

More Dubai: How Dubai Works How Xeritown Will Work Is a zero-carbon, zero-waste, zero-car city on the horizon? How the Dubai Seven-Star Hotel Works Why is the world's largest artificial island in the shape of a palm tree?