The Capital Cairo (c) SOM_5 Renderings: SOM

Last week the Egyptian government and SOM, the same architecture firm behind Dubai’s Burj Khalifa and One World Trade Center in New York, released their initial plan for a new capital city. To be built 31 miles east of the current capital Cairo, the $300 billion proposal includes over 100 new neighborhoods, buildings of all shapes and sizes, and “one of the largest city park systems in the world.” It would span 270 square miles and be home to over 7 million residents.

The Capital Cairo (c) SOM_4

The idea behind the new city, simply referred to as “The Capital,” is the creation of a new administrative and financial capital away from the congestion and pollution of densely-populated Cairo.

The Capital Cairo (c) SOM_1

“[The new city] will relieve the congestion of Greater Cairo’s high-density population that is expected to double by 2050,” SOM explains on their website.

While this is all still in the early stages of design and many details have yet be worked out, the initial plans do call for an airport, a theme park four times the size of Disneyland, 1.1 million housing units, 1,250 mosques and churches, 660 hospitals, 40,000 hotel rooms.

The Capital Cairo (c) SOM_7 The Capital Cairo (c) SOM_8 The Capital Cairo (c) SOM_10

But perhaps the most amazing number associated with the project is the Egyptian government’s estimate for how long it would take to complete: just five to seven years.

The Capital Cairo (c) SOM

Will it work? Brent Toderian, former Vancouver chief planner and a consultant for several cities worldwide, told The Guardian that he has his doubts:

“Based on historic and global track records, trying to build a new city from scratch is a massive gamble. The most concerning thing to me was the speed at which this is intended to be built — five to seven years. That’s incredibly fast. And if you build it that fast, it will be a ghost town, like most other development plays have been.”

For more, read The Guardian article here.

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