marcosandmarjan: al jadida agropolis self sufficient city
marcosandmarjan: al jadida agropolis   self sufficient city marcosandmarjan: al jadida agropolis   self sufficient city
jun 23, 2010

marcosandmarjan: al jadida agropolis self sufficient city

khataba (al jadida) agropolis – self sufficient city by marcosandmarjan all images courtesy marcosandmarjan

the rapid increase of population in the nile delta, especially around cairo and alexandria, is today completely unsustainable. life quality in both cities is decreasing while the infrastructures are totally overstretched, forcing hundreds of thousands of people into peripheric satellite developments. this is either happening in the desert in enclosed condominiums for the rich, or in the delta in shanty-town-like settlements for the poor. egypt is also having a fast growing demand for electricity which requires significant investment in its generation capacity.

like many other middle-eastern countries, egypt is also facing a sharp rise in food imports, which is making the country ever-more dependent on price fluctuations of the international markets. this is turning basic goods too expensive for the majority of the population.   the proposal by the UK practice marcosandmarjan (marjan colletti, marcos cruz) is that of new towns along the delta to therefore redirect the uncontrolled urban sprawl into new agro-urban settlements that grow in accordance to local farming activity. khataba (al jadida) is the first of these settlements. as a semi-urban and semi-agricultural environment – an agropolis – it is proposed to be self sufficient in what concerns the involvement of local population, new transport infrastructures, mix program, and, above all, a sustainable balance in food and energy production and consumption.

khataba (al jadida) agropolis – self sufficient city

apart from an existing motorway, a new high-speed train is proposed to link cairo and alexandria. travel distance is thus massively reduced, shortening commuting time between khataba (al jadida) and cairo to 30 minutes. the trajectory of this new railway line is located outside the nile delta, on a predominantly agricultural area west of it, avoiding spreading more construction and thus pollution in the delta. on this line are proposed several new agro-urban settlements, being khatabaal-jadida the first prototype to be built.

khataba (al jadida) agropolis – self sufficient city

a further focus of the project is lying on the juxtaposition and coexistence of different people and activities within a varied and mixed program. it contradicts mono-cultural/zooning strategies largely used in the mid and late 20th-century urbanism. by desifying the urban settlements, land is left intact for farming activity. besides this agricultural production, it is also proposed that the ground levels of the project host facilities for agricultural manufacturing, along with housing for mid/low income people (that can sprawl between different centres), along with small and mid-scale commerce, workshops for local craftsmen, and cultural / educational / health services on a main street (souk). the upper levels host housing for mid/high income people, offices and other ancillary services.

khataba (al jadida) agropolis – self sufficient city

local population, mainly farmers, craftsmen and other skilled workers are thought to be attracted to the khataba (al jadida) agropolis where products can be traded. new housing can also develop along a planned grid between several new centers. simultaneously, a new middle/higher income group of people is also attracted that instead of sprawling in the periphery of cairo and alexandria chose to settle in a more healthy and sustainable environment. the density of construction of the agropolis is necessary to allow a maximum of utilisation of surroundingfarm land.

khataba (al jadida) agropolis – concept circles

energy consumption / production khataba (al-jadida) is designed as a 0 carbon foot print agglomeration. different types of waste products, including sewage, household garbage, energy, etc. is proposed to be recycled. liquid waste in particular is thought to be re-utilized and help irrigating surrounding farm, on the other hand, is to be gained mainly from sun energy, being located on the building’s roofs, facades and some of the circular fields.

multi-layered skin with solar-pixels mit researches are developing a way to double the performance of traditional solar panels by using dyed glass and fiber optics as a layer placed on top of existing solar arrays.

example of a pioneering 354 megawall powerplant built in the mojave desert in california, USA.

concept growth and development

left-over spaces and sustainable food production the main strategy is to use linear and circular agricultural morphological patterns common in egypt as a basic structure in which the khataba (al jadida) agropolis and other new settlements can grow. by using the left-over spaces that are usually wasted land, these new town centres are proposed to develop in the interstices between irrigation circles and gridded fields, creating an significant matrix of interconnected and complementary urban nuclei in the midst of agricultural land. being a very efficient system used in dry areas of the middle east, irrigation circles are employed as a means to irrigate large surfaces with very little water, which in turn is extracted from existing aquifers. in this part of egypt the aquifers are regularly refilled with water from the nile delta, turning this system into an ecologically balanced and economic practice. the proximity of food production and consumption is also seen as being cheaper, sustainable and more environmentally friendly.

concept irrigation circles

concept plan

concept program

concept energy diagram

concept skin

site aquifiers program

site railway diagram

the nile site

site urbanisation diagram

  • This project does nothing for me what so ever. Trite, contrived and deprived. Lacking imagination and motivation. Once more we witness rhetoric that falls short of the architecture and vice versa. To think that it is by Marjan Colleti, of the super duo marcosandmarjan. ’nuff said.

    AAB says:

    GREG says:
  • As I understand it, this is a proposal. I don’t know what Egypt has in the way of plans to cope with its problems, but this one seems to have a broad sword dealing with the known problems. Not enough is known as to where the funding for the project is coming from, e.g.: state or private. This is a concept where alterations can be easily modified as necessary. I wish this project good luck d;-)

    Jetwax says:
  • Actually I live in Egypt and am Egyptian and I think this is a wonderful idea. It might need a bit of polishing but it’s pretty much exactly what we need, despite not being very creative.

    123 says:

have something to add? share your thoughts in our comments section below.
all comments are reviewed for the purposes of moderation before publishing.

comments policy
designboom's comment policy guidelines
generally speaking, if we publish something, it's because we're genuinely interested in the subject. we hope you'll share this interest and if you know even more about it, please share! our goal in the discussion threads is to have good conversation and we prefer constructive opinions. we and our readers have fun with entertaining ones. designboom welcomes alerts about typos, incorrect names, and the like.
the correction is at the discretion of the post editor and may not happen immediately.

what if you disagree with what we or another commenter has to say?
let's hear it! but please understand that offensive, inappropriate, or just plain annoying comments may be deleted or shortened.

- please do not make racist, sexist, anti-semitic, homophobic or otherwise offensive comments.
- please don't personally insult the writers or your fellow commenters.
- please avoid using offensive words, replacing a few letters with asterisks is not a valid workaround.
- please don't include your website or e-mail address in your comments for the purpose of self-promotion.
- please respect jury verdicts and do not discuss offensively on the competition results
(there is only one fist prize, and designboom usually asks renown professionals to help us to promote talent.
in addition to the awarded designs, we do feel that almost all deserve our attention, that is why we publish
the best 100-200 entries too.)

a link is allowed in comments as long as they add value in the form of information, images, humor, etc. (links to the front page of your personal blog or website are not okay). unwelcome links (to commercial products or services of others, offensive material etc. ) will be redacted. and, ... yes, spam gets banned. no, we do not post fake comments.


a diverse digital database that acts as a valuable guide in gaining insight and information about a product directly from the manufacturer, and serves as a rich reference point in developing a project or scheme.

architecture news

keep up with our daily and weekly stories
491,187 subscribers
- see sample
- see sample