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Skidmore, Owings & Merrill Leading City Planning for New Egyptian Capital City

Today, at the Egyptian Economic Development Conference held in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt, Egypt’s political leadership announced the vision for a major new city that will become the new governmental and business capital city for the country.

A part of the Egyptian Government’s development strategies, 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 Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM).

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.

Approximately 700 square kilometers in area, with 200 square kilometers of preserved natural areas and one of the largest city park systems in the world, THE CAPITAL CAIRO will be linked to historic Cairo through extensive public transit links. The city vision allows for flexibility to respond and adapt to the regional economic trends over the course of many decades.

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.

“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 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.

“THE CAPITAL CAIRO complements the national vision for an Egyptian renaissance. This is a rare opportunity for the people of this vibrant nation to express and build their aspirations of a better life for all,” said Daniel Ringelstein, SOM City Design Practice Director. “The future city will strengthen and diversify Egypt’s economic potential by creating attractive new places to live, work, and welcome the world.”

A spectrum of medium and high-density residential neighborhoods will be laid out with sensitivity to the land, with vegetated wadis embracing natural breezes for passive cooling of buildings and city places. Every neighborhood will be centered on a community public space surrounded by local shops, schools, religious buildings, and civic amenities. While these will be new in every way, the design of the neighborhoods will reflect Cairo’s traditional development patterns.

About Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill LLP (SOM) is one of the leading architecture, interior design, engineering, and urban planning firms in the world, with a 75-year reputation for design excellence and a portfolio that includes some of the most important architectural accomplishments of the 20th and 21st centuries. Since its inception, SOM has been a leader in the research and development of specialized technologies, new processes and innovative ideas, many of which have had a palpable and lasting impact on the design profession and the physical environment. The firm’s longstanding leadership in design and building technology has been honored with more than 1,700 awards for quality, innovation, and management. The American Institute of Architects has recognized SOM twice with its highest honor, the Architecture Firm Award — in 1962 and again in 1996. The firm maintains offices in New York, Chicago, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Washington, D.C., London, Hong Kong, Shanghai, Mumbai, and Abu Dhabi.