Planned cities, SEZ’s, and Free trade zones.

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A thread to post about planned/masterplanned cities which are entire new planned cities built from scratch, special economic zones which lead to existing towns/cities growing at extreme rates to become entire new cities, and free trade zones which lead to massive infrastructure development which transform cities.

Some planned city examples are Egypt’s New administrative capital, or Chinas Xiongan new area, special economic zones like Shenzhen, Shanghai and free trade zones like Lagos Free Zone and Lekki port in Nigeria.
 
Xiongan new area in China is a new masterplanned city currently under construction near Beijing. It is being built as a release valve to move all of Beijings non critical industry to from Beijing. I wasnt sure what to expect at first, but now that its starting to come together I actually think it looks really good and looks like an extremely pleasant and livable city. Theres a pretty strong emphasis on keeping the entire city as mid rise.

The arial view doesnt give a whole lot to go by, but once you see street level its looking really good imo.
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The high speed rail station is complete
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Theres not a lot of photos on the ground yet.
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https://english.news.cn/20230401/a06d6aec5525494da49274cd18810298/c.html



Driving tour of the new city gives a much better idea of the feel of the city.
 
Egypts new administrative capital is a brand new masterplanned city which is being built to move all of the government and ministerial offices and residences out of Cairo to an area east of old Cairo. The city has been under construction for about 5 years and is pretty far aling considering they started from scratch.

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https://www.skyscrapercity.com/thre...ring-new-cities-photo-gallery.2279286/page-10

Video tour
 
Yea thats absolutely one of the main reasons why they built it. It also blows my mind how suburban and car oriented the whole layout is. Its literally insane to build a stroad centric city from scratch in 2023… I guess that is unless the entire purpose is to shield the upper classes from the riff raff. This is what the residential neighborhoods look like just the same tower in a park building copied and pasted 1000 times with no ground floor anything.
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Shades of Dubai, for sure. Hilarious how people in that render are strolling in the stroad.

That this new Egyptian capitol is so car-centric certainly says something about the car's "true" purpose, or at least its power and appeal, in the 21st century.
 
And I thought that scaffolding in the middle of the two foreground buildings was just an architect getting fancy!
 
-Im skeptical about how green this “green city” will be just because they put trees on roofs when its bulldozing thousands of acres of greenfield area in Kalimantan/Borneo, but either way its under construction.

Nusantara – New Capital City of Indonesia
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“Indonesia is planning to move its capital from Jakarta in Java to a new city named Nusantara in East Kalimantan on the island of Borneo. The move is in part to relieve pressure on traffic-clogged Jakarta, which is sinking, polluted and crowded. A new capital city would also be a way of symbolically centralising the government, which is seen as being too Java-centric.
“Indonesia is planning to move its capital from Jakarta in Java to a new city named Nusantara in East Kalimantan on the island of Borneo. The move is in part to relieve pressure on traffic-clogged Jakarta, which is sinking, polluted and crowded. A new capital city would also be a way of symbolically centralising the government, which is seen as being too Java-centric.

The idea of moving the capital has been around since independence, with president Soekarno (1945-1967) planning to move the capital to Palangkaraya in Kalimantan. President Yudhoyono (2004-2014) also floated the idea.

The latest push to move the capital was proposed by President Jokowi shortly after winning his second term in 2019. Indonesian presidents can only serve two terms, and this costly and difficult project would have been too controversial to run as a first-term election policy.

A number of locations were short-listed, including Palangkaraya in Kalimantan (president Soekarno’s original choice). Kalimantan was the preferred region as it’s close to the geographical centre of Indonesia…”

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https://futuresoutheastasia.com/nusantara-new-capital-city-of-indonesia/
 
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Flashback here, but I distinctly remember during the early part of the LBJ administration, before the Vietnam war sucked up much of the Federal budget, and urban renewal funds were still flowing freely, there was serious talk from the Feds about a program to build a few completely new cities in the US. The Vietnam war escalated so nothing came of it, but still an intriguing idea for the future.
 
Flashback here, but I distinctly remember during the early part of the LBJ administration, before the Vietnam war sucked up much of the Federal budget, and urban renewal funds were still flowing freely, there was serious talk from the Feds about a program to build a few completely new cities in the US. The Vietnam war escalated so nothing came of it, but still an intriguing idea for the future.

I think this is something that should definitely be considered. Theres plenty of places that new cities could be built and it would be nice to start from scratch without any single family zoning and not allowing any sprawl to be built on the outskirts that block future expansion. The only proposed ideas for new cities are stupid billionaire utopia tech oasis’ that wont/shouldnt happen. I think it would be a completely reasonable idea to just build some new “completely regular” cities. Thats really what we need the most just without the sprawl, low density, parking lots, strip malls..etc.

I especially think this would be a good idea for places like Canada and Australia. Canada is trying to reach 100 million ppl by 2100, doesnt have many cities, and cant build housing fast enough. Plus its the second largest country, they have tons of room. They could really benefit from a few more Edmonton sized cities, along with greatly expanding cities like Hamilton or Windsor. Australia also doesnt have many cities and is really heavily concentrated on the lower east coast. They really need a few more in western Australia to balance out Perth and northern Australia could really take advantage of its proximity to Asia. I dont see why govts are so opposed to doing this today when there is a huge need and we have all the tools to make it work. If we were able to do it way back in the day we can do it today. I think in the US a cool idea would be to create a brand new city that is dedicated as a special economic zone like Shenzhen and try some experimental ideas there that could be refined and then used in other cities. The SEZ status could give it that push that would make people/companies locate there.

Anyways the reason why I came to this thread:

New video of Egypts new Administrative capitol R5 district.
 
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One idea I've heard and that I really like is to seed empty or depressed areas with federal agencies that don't need to be co-located in DC. Why not have the Dept of Interior in Southern Montana? Let's move HUD to Detroit and build a federal center on cheap land near a big airport and with great freeway capacity. Ag could do a lot of good in Arkansas. I could imagine this being a serious multiplier of federal money and a jobs program for locals across the income spectrum, while also recruiting more senior people to areas that they may otherwise never have considered.
 
One idea I've heard and that I really like is to seed empty or depressed areas with federal agencies that don't need to be co-located in DC. Why not have the Dept of Interior in Southern Montana? Let's move HUD to Detroit and build a federal center on cheap land near a big airport and with great freeway capacity. Ag could do a lot of good in Arkansas. I could imagine this being a serious multiplier of federal money and a jobs program for locals across the income spectrum, while also recruiting more senior people to areas that they may otherwise never have considered.
The reason not to do this is because then the quality of talent at those agencies and the ability to staff them at all would decrease dramatically. I worked for a long time in agriculture policy in DC, and when a chunk of USDA was moved to Kansas City they lost a lot of their most experienced and skilled staffers (in this case research scientists most specifically). Having all federal agencies in one location in the capitol makes it easier to attract people who want to work in government but also want to be able to move around between agencies, capitol hill, etc.

Beyond that, there is the obvious efficiency and cost benefits to having all government agencies in one place in DC - agencies are not siloed, they work together all the time, often with many agencies all working on the same projects. It would be inefficient and probably detrimental to the quality of outcomes to force them to all have to travel around the country for any interagency meetings. Yet more, agencies are all accountable to the executive branch (the White House isn't leaving DC) and Congress (also not leaving DC), and agencies are often asked to submit testimony, meet with members of Congress, meet with the White House, etc. etc.
 
The reason not to do this is because then the quality of talent at those agencies and the ability to staff them at all would decrease dramatically. I worked for a long time in agriculture policy in DC, and when a chunk of USDA was moved to Kansas City they lost a lot of their most experienced and skilled staffers (in this case research scientists most specifically). Having all federal agencies in one location in the capitol makes it easier to attract people who want to work in government but also want to be able to move around between agencies, capitol hill, etc.

Beyond that, there is the obvious efficiency and cost benefits to having all government agencies in one place in DC - agencies are not siloed, they work together all the time, often with many agencies all working on the same projects. It would be inefficient and probably detrimental to the quality of outcomes to force them to all have to travel around the country for any interagency meetings. Yet more, agencies are all accountable to the executive branch (the White House isn't leaving DC) and Congress (also not leaving DC), and agencies are often asked to submit testimony, meet with members of Congress, meet with the White House, etc. etc.
I generally agree, but it's also important to note that something like 80% of federal employees already *don't* work in the DC area, and work out of field offices or federal offices in the states. If the goal is "bring federal offices closer to the people" that job is already pretty well done. There's more federal employees in California than DC, and Texas isn't far behind. And those are often co-located with other federal agencies, in federal centers etc, because collaboration on the regional level is equally important as that at the HQ level. Plus, those field offices, regional HQs do have senior roles - they're often where DC HQ bound executives prove their chops. They answer to HQ in DC, HQ answers to Congress and the White House.

The federal agency headquarters also generally aren't so big to truly make a dent - HUD, for example, has about 2000 DC area employees - frankly 2000 jobs isn't likely to move the needle in say Detroit. I agree it's basically just a surefire way to neuter an agency for at least a few years, possibly more.

That said, if you're doing something new, or something that is functionally isolated from having to work closely with other agency HQs, there's no reason that has to be in DC. Moving itself is disruptive, but seeding something outside of DC is wholly reasonable. It isn't necessarily impossible to recruit talented people outside of DC - Idaho National Laboratories, the CDC in Atlanta, Marshall Space center in Huntsville AL... those work because that's where they were founded and organized in the first place. Even in the other direction, if you wanted to move the CDC to DC, you would attrit a huge portion of their current workforce, and likely the most senior, skilled, experienced people. Huntsville is rocket city because that's where NASA and the Army functionally incubated the industry at Redstone Arsenal, and an entire economic ecosystem has grown around that - that's something to be emulated.

Basically, go ahead and build the next IRS service center in Detroit, or the next national research lab in Colorado, but Space Force HQ needs to be at the Pentagon - And don't move anything you want to keep working.
 
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Another video of Xiong an. This city has come out really unique. You can definitely tell its a chinese city, but Ive never seen a chinese city that appears to have a washington dc style height cap. I think the high density mid rise approach is a nice change, it makes it so it doesnt feel overwhelming. I think that this is actually going to be a pretty nice city to live in once the people and agencies move in. I’m not sure who did the masterplan for this city but I must say they did a pretty good job. Lots and lots of street level activation, solid density, no single family homes, not bad. The way they put shingled roofs on the housing blocks is a nice touch too, dont think Ive seen that before.

 
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I hadn't heard about "The Line" linear city development in Saudi Arabia until yesterday. It may have been covered on aB already, but I couldn't find it.

Here's a pretty good YouTube video. And an article written up about the pitfalls and challenges of the project. Apparently Saudi Arabia deals a bit harshly with NIMBYs. Currently it's scheduled to be finished by 2030. That seems very optimistic to me, but after all, it is a country very different from the US in how it approaches large developments.
 
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I hadn't heard about "The Line" linear city development in Saudi Arabia until yesterday. It may have been covered on aB already, but I couldn't find it.

Here's a pretty good YouTube video. And an article written up about the pitfalls and challenges of the project. Apparently Saudi Arabia deals a bit harshly with NIMBYs. Currently it's scheduled to be finished by 2030. That seems very optimistic to me, but after all, it is a country very different from the US in how it approaches large developments.
Here's some update photos. Making good progress, and expected to be done by 2030:
https://www.unilad.com/technology/n...saudi-arabia-trillion-dollars-895577-20240219
 

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