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Archive for Iskandar Malaysia

12 Brand NEW Cities: Out With the Old, and In With the NEW! via [msnbc and forbes]

Already seen Rome and Paris? Fresh, new cities are springing up

Image: Under construction

Christophe Archambault / AFP / Getty Images
The Myanmar
government relocated its capital to Naypyidaw, an undeveloped site more
than 200 miles north of its previous capital, Yangon, in 2005. The
city is still under construction, but already has a population of
nearly 1 million, which would make it Myanmar’s third-largest city.
By Oliver Chiang
– As you plan your
next big trip, centuries-old hot spots like Rome and Paris may come to
mind. But if you’ve been there and done that, you might want to check
out some new cities that have sprung up recently around the world. 

One trip you may want to start saving up for
now is a vacation to The Pearl in Qatar, a man-made island chain in the
shape of a string of pearls, billed as the “Riviera Arabia.” Situated
in a lagoon just offshore of Qatar’s capital city of Doha, this $2.5
billion project started development in 2003 and will eventually include
luxury villa apartments, three 5-star hotels,
beaches and marinas.

Though it won’t be finished until 2013 or
later, The Pearl already has a number of high-end retail shops and
restaurants, and holds regular performances by artists like Spanish
tenor Placido Domingo. And if, after visiting the islands, you find you
just can’t bear to leave, you may be in luck. The Pearl has a string
of nine private islands that will go up for sale in the
future–provided you can afford what will probably be exorbitant
property prices.

For an experience with less gild and a lot more grit, visit
Naypyidaw, the new capital of the Southeast Asian nation Myanmar,
especially if you enjoy being part of a good mystery. No one knows
exactly why the Myanmar government in 2005 suddenly relocated the
capital 200 miles north to Naypyidaw from Yangon. Nor does anyone know
the future plans for Naypyidaw, Burmese for “city of kings,” or how many
millions of dollars it must be costing the government to develop it.

But for the curious traveler, half the
adventure of Naypyidaw is getting there–the capital is tucked away in a
mountain jungle, an eight- to 10-hour drive along ox-cart roads. You
can also claim bragging rights to having been to one of the more
obscure capitals of the world, where few other travelers have gone
before. There aren’t many big tourist attractions in the city, but a
couple of note are the zoological gardens, with hundreds of animals,
including rare wallabies and white tigers, and the water park. The
Myanmar government says Naypyidaw has an estimated 1 million residents,
making it the country’s third-largest city.

If you’re looking for a new city somewhere in Northeast Asia,
consider South Korea‘s new Songdo International Business District. When
it is completed, likely in 2014, this $35 billion project will
encompass 1,500 acres and house around 65,000 residents. In addition,
Songdo will have an 18-hole championship golf course, which is
scheduled to host the 2012 PGA Championship Tour, an art museum, an opera house
and concert hall. Already completed is the 100-acre Central Park in the
middle of the city, as well as a number of residential and commercial

Songdo is not only an entirely new city, it is
also an example of an “eco-city,” a term that describes the growing
trend of new cities with plans focusing on sustainability, using smart
technologies and strategic planning. Examples of Songdo’s
sustainability plans include an extensive public transportation system
and a centralized waste disposable system that uses a series of
pneumatic tubes.

Eco-cities like Songdo are more than just a nice idea; they are
expected to yield important lessons for future human habitats. By 2050
nearly 70% of the world’s population will live in cities, according to
the Population Division of the United Nations’ Department of Economic
and Social Affairs. As cities become home to the majority of the
world’s population, Songdo and others will become important testing
grounds for green technologies and new ways of city planning.

“The thinking is that by changing the way
cities are designed–the size of the buildings and streets — we can
fundamentally change the footprint of humans on the environment,” says
Karen Seto, an associate professor at Yale University in Urban
Environment. She also notes that there is much to be gained from
retrofitting old cities with new plans and technologies.

Other eco-city experts are excited about the new Masdar City,
located just outside Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates.
One of the major goals of this ambitious $22 billion project, which
broke ground in 2008, is to be a city with zero waste and zero carbon
emissions. To that end, Masdar will feature many urban uses of green
technologies. For instance, one of the solar technologies it is testing
is called “concentrated solar power,” a tracking system with mirrors
and lenses that focus sunlight on water to heat it so that it can power
steam generators. The new Masdar Institute of Science and Technology,
developed with the help of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
will also be home to research and development for sustainable

“The cities of the past didn’t have to think about issues like climate change
and energy volatility,” says Warren Karlenzig, chief executive of urban
consultancy Common Current and a fellow of the Post Carbon Institute.
But cities of the future can’t afford to ignore such issues, says
Karlenzig, especially given the ever-increasing population.

Meanwhile, many of these brand new cities will
be completed or significantly developed within the next five to 10
years, when their implications for the future will be better

Says Karlenzig: “By the end of this decade,
we’re really going to be seeing what these cities are like, how they
operate and if they do make more sense than organically evolved

In Pictures: 12 Brand New Cities

Courtesy of The Pearl

1. The Pearl, Qatar

Like Dubai’s Palm Islands, The Pearl is a man-made island, one that
spans 1.5 square miles in the shape of a string of pearls. Billed as the
“Riviera Arabia,” it will include luxury villa apartments and three
5-star hotels, as well as high-end retail shops and restaurants. This
$2.5 billion project is located in Doha’s West Bay Lagoon area. The
global recession has pushed back The Pearl’s completion date to 2013,
but it currently has a number of shops and activities open to tourists.


2.  Naypyidaw, Myanmar

In what was probably a political and strategic decision in 2005, the
Myanmar government relocated its capital to Naypyidaw, an undeveloped
site more than 200 miles north of its previous capital, Yangon.
Subsequently named Naypyidaw, or “city of kings,” the city is still
under construction, but already has a population of nearly 1 million,
which would make it Myanmar’s third-largest city. Some of the main
attractions to this sprawling 2.7-square mile city include its
zoological gardens and water park.


3.  Masdar City, United Arab Emirates

Located just outside of Abu Dhabi, Masdar City broke ground in 2008
and is one of the most ambitious new eco-cities being built today. Zero
carbon and zero waste are atop this $22-billion project’s list of
goals, as well as the sole use of renewable energy sources, the
implementation of a mass transit system and the construction of the
Masdar Institute of Science and Technology. The city’s planners expect
the city to be completed over the next decade and to attract up to
50,000 residents.


4.  Songdo International Business District, South Korea

Once undeveloped mudflats 40 miles southwest of Seoul, Songdo is
becoming a smart urban center with an integrated network of utility,
transportation, real estate and recreation systems. This manmade island,
started in 2001, is a $35 billion project that will encompass 1,500
acres, house 65,000 residents and is slated for completion in 2014.
Green transportation systems and underground pneumatic tubes for garbage
collection are just a couple of the technologies being implemented for
Songdo. It currently has more than 100 buildings, including a
7,800-person apartment complex, a 100-acre central park and a Sheraton


5. Tianjin Eco-City, China

Though China is not exactly known for being eco-friendly, it does
have a number of eco-cities in the works, including the Tianjin Eco-City
in northeast China. This $22 billion project covers 11.5 square miles
and will include green public transportation systems and a power plant
fueled by organic waste. The first phase of the city is scheduled to be
finished by next year, with an animation center and a public housing
project with 500 affordable units. The entire project is expected to
take about 10 to 15 years to finish and will house around 350,000


6.  Dholera, India

Located in the northwest part of India in Gujarat, Dholera is a new
project on what is now largely rural land, and it will be part of a
global manufacturing and trading hub. Dholera is also the first city in a
series of cities across a larger project, the Delhi-Mumbai Industrial
Corridor (DMIC), a 93-mile stretch down the west coast of the
subcontinent. With the DMIC, the Indian government aims to double the
number of jobs in the region and quadruple its exports within just five

Jeppe Wikstrom/Getty Images

7.  Hammarby Sjostad, Sweden

While not brand new, this once-polluted former industrial site just
south of Stockholm has risen from the ashes to become one of Europe’s
most eco-friendly towns. One of the most distinguishing features of the
lakeside town is its waste collection system: an extensive series of
hydraulic tubes that collects trash, recycling it to create electricity,
heat or compost.

Hammarby’s city plan also enables and encourages citizens to walk or
use public transportation rather than cars. Construction is ongoing,
but the town is expected to house some 35,000 people and be completed
by 2015.

AP Photo/Ahn Young-joon


8.  Sejong City, South Korea

Sejong City was originally proposed by the government as the location
for South Korea’s new capital in 2005. This year, however, the Korean
government is planning to turn Sejong City into a hub of renewable
energy and sustainability, education, science and business. This $14.6
billion project, 100 miles south of Seoul, is scheduled for completion
by 2020 and will house a population of 500,000. It will also be home to
the Korea Rare Isotope Accelerator and Basic Science Research
Institute, which will be finished by 2015.



9.  Energy Cities: Qatar, Libya, Kazakhstan, India

The Energy City initiative is a series of cities being planned and
built across several countries, with the dual goals of being
energy-efficient and self-sustainable and also being business centers to
global and regional energy companies. The first Energy City, which
will be in Qatar, is scheduled for completion by 2012. The $2.6 billion
project will encompass an area of about a half a square mile and will
employ up to 20,000 people.

Andrew Butterton / Alamy


10.  BedZED, U.K.

Beddington Zero Energy Development, or BedZED, is the U.K.’s largest
mixed-use sustainable community, located south of London in a town
called Wallington. The project was completed in 2002 and includes around
100 homes.

The BedZED community says it has reduced its energy use in heating by
81%, its car use by 64% and its water use by 58%. In addition, it
recycles about 60% of its waste.

Omar Salem/AFP/Getty Images

11.  King Abdullah Economic City, Saudi Arabia

King Abdullah Economic City, launched in 2005 by King Abdullah, is an
$80 billion project that will take up about 67 square miles along the
coast of the Red Sea. It will eventually have six main areas, including
an “educational zone” and central business district. Education and
research are some of the big themes behind the city, and the King
Abdullah University of Science and Technology will be built there. The
city is also part of a plan to diversify the oil-based economy of Saudi
Arabia, and to make it, among other things, a major industrial center
by 2020.


12.  Iskandar, Malaysia

Established in 2006, Iskandar, Malaysia, is located on the southern
tip of Malaysia and encompasses an area of about one square mile. The
city was built to be a new metropolitan hub in the region, to attract
businesses as well as residents with planned communities and
environmentally friendly buildings. It includes five “flagship zones,”
including a financial district, technology park and port, and is
scheduled for completion by 2025.

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