Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM), one of the leading architecture, interior design, engineering, and urban planning firms in the world, has developed the initial framework and core principles of a sustainable new city of Cairo, Egypt. The vision for THE CAPITAL CAIRO is a product of the collaboration of the Egyptian Ministry of Housing and Capital City Partners Ltd, a private fund of global investors, aided by the internationally renowned design firm SOM. The Egyptian parliament and its government departments and ministries, as well as foreign embassies, would move to the new metropolis. Developers say the new city – the name of which has not been revealed – would include almost 2,000 schools and colleges and more than 600 health care facilities. They say the project will create more than a million jobs. It is planned to be built over 700 sq km (270 sq miles) and house about five million residents.


Courtesy of SOM

According to SOM, the new city planning is led by Phillip Enquist, SOM Partner in Charge of Urban Design and Planning, Daniel Ringelstein, Director of Urban Design and Planning, and George J. Efstathiou, SOM Consulting Partner. SOM city planners developed the initial framework and core principles of a sustainable new city. Designed in harmony with the local environment and shaped by the natural landscape, the vision for this new city was created to specifically meet the needs of a modern city with a burgeoning economy.


Courtesy of SOM

THE CAPITAL CAIRO will relieve the congestion of Greater Cairo’s high-density population that is expected to double by 2050. The vision has been carefully planned to accommodate a growing population, from over seven million people across all income groups, when fully realized.


Courtesy of SOM

“While we are at the earliest stages of design, the new city will be built on core principles that include places of education, economic opportunity, and quality of life for Egypt’s youthful population,” said Philip Enquist. “The new city will be designed and built in harmony with nature as a showcase of environmentally sensitive development.”


The idea is to lure Egyptians away from the chaotic sprawl of Cairo – where congestion and pollution seem as constant as the waters of the Nile. The authorities say it will spark a renaissance in the economy. Perhaps, but many here recall other flagship projects – which stalled in the past. Egyptian bureaucracy can be as enduring as the pyramids. The unique site is defined by wadis and a unique topography, which will be preserved and enhanced for future generations. The future city will be compact in urban form and anchored by concentrated development districts, including a central business district, a government administrative district, a cultural district, a knowledge and innovation district, and over 100 diverse residential neighborhoods.

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