My City Centre Masdar: New eco-friendly mall opens in Abu Dhabi - in pictures

The shopping spot has a focus on recycling and energy efficiency

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As Extinction Rebellion protesters march in London, and David Attenborough's new documentary Our Planet drops on Netflix, the UAE is offering its own contributions to the global battle against climate change.

This week, The National's Louise Burke took a ride on Etihad's first plastic-free, ultra-long-haul flight, which took her to Brisbane without a wasteful, single-use product in sight. At the same time, we met Jocelyn McBride, founder of the UAE Beekeepers Association, who drives her Bee Bus around the UAE, helping spread a message of sustainability. A few days before, it was announced that a massive coral reef garden the size of 60 football stadiums is to be created in Fujairah, in a bid to drive eco-tourism and safeguard vital marine life.

Now, the opening of a new Dh300 million, 18,500-square-metre mall may not sound like the stuff of eco-friendly dreams, but the team behind My City Centre Masdar certainly has the country's long-term sustainability goals in mind.

Look through the photo gallery above to see inside the mall.

The Majid Al Futtaim mall, the company's 25th, opened on Wednesday, April 24. It's located in Masdar City, Abu Dhabi's sustainable urban community, and features more than 70 shops, including a 7,000-square-metre Carrefour, the French brand's 100th store in the UAE.

Inside the hypermarket, you'll find decor featuring sustainably sourced wood, as well as a wide array of locally grown produce on display. It'll be the first store in the country that won't offer you a single-use plastic bag at the check-out counter, plus there's a "Recycle and get Rewarded" machine, which allows shoppers to deposit their plastics and get a voucher to spend in Carrefour in return.

Abu Dhabi, April 24, 2019.Majid Al Futtaim is set to welcome visitors to My City Centre Masdar, its first ever lifestyle destination in the capital, on April 24.  The opening of the mall will be the company’s 25th shopping mall operating in the region. —  A mall visitor recycles his plastic water bottle.
Victor Besa/The National 
Section: WK
Reporter:  Sophie Prideaux
A mall visitor recycles his plastic water bottle. Victor Besa / The National

Elsewhere, the mall's 600 car-parking bays are shaded by roofing with photovoltaic cells, which means they can generate electricity that's equivalent to one-fifth of the mall's annual energy use. Six per cent of the parking spaces have also been set aside for electric, hybrid or carshare vehicles – and half of these come with charging points.

Future plans also encompass a public transport system, too: the new mall is close to the proposed Masdar City Metro Station and within 300 metres of the nearest planned bus and light rail stops. An autonomous, electric vehicle called Navya will eventually connect the mall to other spots in Masdar City as well.

As for the building's claim to green fame, the plan is to recycle at least 80 per cent of the mall's operational waste, while other sustainability focused facilities also include energy-efficient escalators and lifts, plus LED lighting, which is used exclusively throughout the centre and shop interiors.

And before you start lamenting how much energy must have been spent in the making of the mall, you might also want to know that all the materials used during construction were manufactured within 500 kilometres of the project site.

All material used in the construction of the mall were manufactured within a 500-kilometre radius. Map Developers
All material used in the construction of the mall were manufactured within a 500-kilometre radius. Map Developers

At the moment, a number of shops are open, including ShoeExpress, Redtag, Just Kidding, Lululemon, Hola Bebe and Maisons du Monde. Services include Nails – The Modern Manicure Studio, Lava Soul Barber Shop and Mega Laundry.

A bunch of restaurants are now there, too, such as ice cream shop iScream, which has launched its first Abu Dhabi venue at the new mall. Already popular in Dubai, the cafe serves all sorts of quirky flavours, from curry to black sesame, and Emirati coffee to wasabi. Toppings include fresh fruit, cotton candy and marshmallows. You'll also find the likes of White Owl Coffee Roasters, Classic Rock Cafe, Poke Poke, Sushi Art and Jelly Belly.

Families can also head over to Magic Planet for all their children's entertainment needs.