Beyond simple real-estate branding, the spectacular renders of Egypt’s new, tabula-rasa capital are a visual reproduction of the country’s regime.
Six months after an extravagant announcement, the government’s plans to establish a new Egyptian capital city seem to be caught somewhere between controversy and awkward silence.
The influx of conflicting reports about cancellation, technical obstacles, financial problems and decommissioning briefly stopped after a gag order, but resumed shortly thereafter with official statement about commencing the project by the end of October 2015. Despite the negative critique that swarmed professional circles and social media before the media blackout, and despite the historically recurring failure of the new cities scheme in general, the Egyptian government is still publicising the project with an air of positivity.
The official presentation of the new city during the Egypt Economic Development Conference last March featured photoshopped maps of Egypt with a huge green terrain covering what’s now the Western Desert, showing “how Egypt in the 22nd century would look like,” Housing Minister Mostafa Madbouli said. He further explained that the new city is only a part of a bigger “national strategic plan” that combines on a single map all of the new cities that were built since the late 1970s, other mega-projects that are currently underway in Toshka, the Western Desert, and more importantly, in the Suez Canal Zone, in addition to the new capital city, together forming one big integrated network of development spanning the whole map of Egypt. […]