Probably the most high-profile eco-city out there is Masdar City, already rising out on the edge of Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates. Late last month, according to Architecture and Design, a plan was selected for Masdar's city center.
The plan, by Australia-based firm Lava, contains an interesting solution for moderating Abu Dhabi's harsh desert climate: "solar umbrellas." Supposedly modeled on sunflowers, these strange devices will actually open up during the day (see image above) to collect solar energy and provide shade, and close at night (below).
Masdar is going to be a seriously futuristic place. LAVA's downtown envisions the following list of green features: "adaptive building façades with angles that can be altered to offset or optimise solar glare, materials on wall surfaces that respond to changing temperatures and contain minimal embedded energy, underground water storage, interactive light poles, interactive and heat sensitive technology, as well as roof gardens for food production, energy generation, water efficiency and the reuse of organic food waste."