From ancient to contemporary times -Egypt building a new capital city from scratch
Ancient cities in contemporary times have been engulfed in an urbanized maze. Developing these cities with the current narratives is a much heavier task than planning new cities on unoccupied land. Many times, the urban policies are initiated with a goal to renovate or refurbish, although Egypt is building a new capital from complete scratch. They are planning to shift its capital from Cairo, as the metropolitan suffers severe crowding and congestion. Cairo being a primary city since its inception has seen uncontrolled urban growth. The reason being the rapidly growing population with two million people born over the period of a year. The setup of new capital is to ensure space availability for future years.
Design of the new capital
Located 45 km away from Greater Cairo, Egypt will have a new parliament, business districts, central bank, airport, theme parks, and housing for almost 6 million people. The capital would be 700 square kilometres or 270 square miles in size. It is set to have architecture and technology at its peak which will establish the country on a global level. The city is said to have 90-square-kilometres solar (35-square-miles) farm. The government also intends to make it the first cashless city in the world.
Egypt is one of the 30 countries to relocate its location of power along with Australia, Kazakhstan, Brazil, and Nigeria. The new capital is set to have various land uses. The capital will be developed in phases starting from its residential housing developments and its government districts. The public infrastructure and green utilities will be developed simultaneously. The old capital planning emphasized on its social segregation with the higher income group staying in the centric part due to the high land cost. Whereas the lower and middle-income groups segregating themselves towards the periphery.
The new capital has branded itself on the accounts of housing being affordable in nature. although as per the current land prices this housing is anything but affordable. Shifting a city capital is a huge set-up which has its own pitfalls. For example, when Brazil decided to do the same for its capital in the 1950s, the egalitarian ideals were only relevant during the 50s but today the city has become an example of mass urban segregation and inequality. The current land pricing situation in Egypt seems to be unfair on the accounts of the affordability for all income groups. Cairo embodied the facets of being a city that was heavily segregated as per the social stature of an individual.
“There is something very wrong with the order of priorities,” says political analyst Hassan Naffaa in an interview with AP.
“Maybe el-Sissi wants to go down in history as the leader who built the new capital. But if Egyptians don’t see an improvement in their living conditions and services, he will be remembered as the president who destroyed what is left of the middle class.”
Thus, the core aim for the new capital would be to establish itself on the factors of making an inclusive city that speaks about equality for every stratum with equal opportunities and access.