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Excavator in sand landscape

Egypt’s new wonder

A new marvel on virgin sands

Egypt’s new wonder

Cairo, in Egypt, is one of the world’s most famous cities – full of history. It is also infamous for its congestion. As a solution, a new capital is being constructed, bigger than any planned city before. Will the new city give Egypt a greener future?

Just a few years ago, the Egyptian government delivered the news: the old core of Cairo can no longer hold the city. The congestion in the old center is becoming too heavy and it is over-populated. The administrative center needs to be moved to a new area, on virgin sands 40 kilometers outside Cairo. Housing and other buildings also need to be added which will make the new administrative center a real city, and one of the first smart cities in Africa.

This is also exactly what is going on now, in a time frame that is anything but forgiving. The whole move and the building of a new city, for now called the New Administrative City, is set to be finished in just a couple of years. Upon completion, it will have 660 hospitals, 1,250 mosques and a huge theme park – besides the administrative buildings that will house the government. On top of it, the city plans to complete the tallest building in Africa, 345 meters. But perhaps more impressive: solar parks and a smart public transportation system are also part of the plans.

Excavator on construction site
Six major contractors are working on the construction of Egypt’s new capital.

The construction of the new administrative capital is the latest in Egypt’s long history of megaprojects and hopes are high on the effects, both for the country’s economy and self-esteem.
“Egypt has more wonders than any other country in the world and provides more works that defy description. This is why it is necessary for us, as Egyptians, to enrich this picture – and to add something to it that our grandchildren will be able to say enhances Egypt’s characteristics,” said Mostafa Madbouly, the housing minister of Egypt, when the project was revealed.
He has also emphasized that something has to be done to lighten the load on Cairo, with a projected population of 40 million in 2050.

Ahmed Abdallah is one of Cairo’s citizens today. He works in downtown Cairo and spends hours in traffic every day when he picks up his children from school. He believes the new capital will change the old city for the better.
“I think this is the big boom that will change our country. At least half of the traffic will be taken off the streets of the old city,” he says.

Ahmed Abdallah in Cairo
The new capital will relieve old Cairo from traffic. Citizen Ahmed Abdallah is looking forward to that.

The New Administrative City will be able to house more than five million residents. One of the main purposes of moving and building is to decrease Cairo’s ecological footprint. As all cities around the world, the capital is fighting congestion. And again – as with all cities around the world – there is not much time. In this specific project, this is taken literally. The speed that the project is moving forward with is impressive, and many investors see the new city as a chance to be a part of something big, and something green.

The company overseeing the project, Administrative Capital for Urban Development (ACUD), says that most of the government buildings will be scheduled to move already in June 2019. With that, the move of people comes too. Hopefully, citizens of Cairo will start buying and moving into apartments and houses as soon as possible.

Man bicycle in traffic
Egyptian authorities are planned to move to the new capital in late 2019.

A spokesman for ACUD, El-Husseiny, explains the current problem to the Guardian:
“Cairo isn’t suitable for Egyptian people. There are traffic jams on every street, the infrastructure can’t support the population, and it’s very crowded. Without any specific masterplan, it has started to become ugly. There is no humanity.”

This problem will now be addressed with green parks and open water, and most importantly, more space. In turn, this will hopefully help the city decrease the ecological footprint. Critics claim that only wealthy people will be able to live in the new city. And that the distance between Old Cairo and the new city will, if anything, increase the ecological footprint with more transports going back and forth. ACUD and other key actors, say that the crucial problems, the congestion and the over-population, need to be solved in any case. And the transports between the cities will be mostly by train.

The pyramids were not built on one day, and it took lots of sweat and work force. When the new city is settled, it might not be as original as the pyramids, but it can parade with iconic landmarks as well as an ambitious plan for making the world a little greener.

“We need a landmark, a new capital. We have the right to have a dream, and this is our dream,” concludes El-Husseiny.

The Nile flows past Cairo
Old Cairo has stood on the banks of the Nile River for more than 1,000 years.

Sources: The Guardian, Egypt Today

Egypt’s new wonder

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