A new concept in sustainable living could make Cairo home to the world’s first climate-positive city.
Home to 35,000 residents across 1,400 acres in Cairo, ‘Nexgen’ is a city designed to produce more than it takes. That’s the vision of URB, a leading developer of sustainable cities based in the Dubai Design District, announced earlier this year.
According to URB, Nexgen will be the world’s first net-zero city—self-sufficient in every way. The city design includes providing food, energy, and water security, creating a green economy, and serving as an ecotourism model.
“The creation of the next generation Net Zero cities that provide food, energy, and water as security is no longer a choice,” says Baharash Bagherian, CEO of URB, “it has become a necessity.”
He says Nexgen is the next evolution in sustainable cities that provide “innovative multi-functional solutions for social, economic, and environmental challenges whilst setting the highest sustainability standards for building resilient and liveable cities.”
“As an edge-less city, Nexgen will continuously restore carbon-rich habitats and climate-friendly agriculture, thus investing in nature for ecosystem resilience and regeneration. As such the city will become a positive climate action city,” explains the URB website.
“The city was developed with a focus primarily on passive design techniques such as orientation, density and form which require the least financial investment yet provide the highest environmental gains.”
Bagherian and the URB team haven’t given a date for the completion of the city, but the plans are extensive, including solar-powered atmospheric water generators that will create clean drinking water from the air. The entire city will be walkable, with more than six miles of dedicated car-free trails.
“The city is designed and optimised in planning to be the most walkable city on earth,” URB says. It will also emphasize green transport “to offer residents the safest, most convenient, and enjoyable travel to every aspect of the city.”
Cars, even electric ones, will be limited. “Vehicular access is limited to the ring road and solar car park farms which are optimised to further reduce the walking distances for residents to their homes,” URB explains. “Electric charging stations and reduced energy costs will promote the use of electric vehicles.”
The city will include its own medical hub, wellness center, and various clinics, as well as educational facilities, nature reserves, and leisure facilities.
“Nexgen will be the first climate-positive city producing more renewable energy and food than it consumes. Food security currently affects one in four of the world’s population,” Bagherian said. He says the model for the city’s food, energy, and water could be used to address scarcity around the world.
The city will include about 9,000 housing units—enough for its anticipated 35,000 residents. It will also create 10,000 jobs, many of which will be focused on the city’s green tech and infrastructure, creating a circular, sustainable economy.
Bagherian says he expects the city to also serve as an ecotourism destination. The city will include a 5-star eco-resort as well as “glamping” lodges and a visitor center.
Sustainable city in the U.S.
Last September, entrepreneur Marc Lore announced his eco-city concept, Telosa. Lore said the idea behind Telosa is based on the wealth gap in America.
“Most civilizations in history at some point fall, right?” Lore told Bloomberg Businessweek. “This is going to bring down America.,” he said of the wealth gap.
He developed his city design with help from Danish firm, the Bjarke Ingels Group, a leader in sustainable design.
Lore doesn’t have a destination yet, but he’s got a goal: to be operational by the end of the decade.
“If you went into the desert where the land was worth nothing, or very little, and you created a foundation that owned the land, and people moved there and tax dollars built infrastructure and we built one of the greatest cities in the world, the foundation could be worth a trillion dollars,” Lore says.
“And if the foundation’s mission was to take the appreciation of the land and give it back to the citizens in the form of medicine, education, affordable housing, social services: Wow, that’s it!”