£66 billion masterplan will include rail network linking Gulf nations
Madinat al-Hareer, or City of Silk is a colossal development-in-planning with an expanse of 250 sq km, roughly the same size as Scotland’s capital city, Edinburgh. Taking its name from the historic Silk Road, a route which connected Europe and China via the Middle East, the project will echo this sentiment creating a rail network linking Kuwait to Damascus, Baghdad, Iran and China, it has been announced. The project aims to act as a passageway from Kuwait to Israel and increase links between the two countries.
This week also saw the announcement that funding for City of Silk has been increased from £43 billion to £66 billion. The Kuwait Government have set up a special authority to handle the development, the Kuwait Centre for Strategic Studies presided over by Sami Alfaraj. He told Reuters:
"We are not dreamers at all when we talk about investing $132bn, (£66billion).
"We're thinking on a different plane, because we cannot afford to think like everyone else. We're thinking about something that might seem unimaginable…We're going to outmanoeuvre everybody who is going to remain in the old mode of thinking about economic prospects."
Talking of the links to Israel Alfaraj said: “People in the Gulf are smart enough to understand the impact of technology on their development, and they know that the technology is in Israel.”
Situated in Subiya opposite Kuwait City, City of Silk is set to include the world’s tallest tower, several designated zones or ‘cities’ for media, sport, culture, health and business among others, and a National Wildlife Sanctuary and parks. The city complex, masterplanned by British architects CivicArts (aka Eric R Kuhne Associates), will also include Olympic Stadia, residences, hotels and retail facilities. Up to 700,000 people could be housed in the city which is set to be built across Kuwait Bay and will be linked to Kuwait City by a 23.5 kilometre long bridge. There is also the prospect of a new airport for the city.
The centre-piece of City of Silk will be Burj Mubarak al-Kabir, a 1001 metre tall tower, almost 200 metres taller than the Burj Dubai is set to be at its highest point, and almost twice the height of Taipei 101.
Planning is currently going through the Kuwait Government but CivicArts hope that the development could be complete by 2023 and advised that their involvement in the process will be ongoing once a decision is reached.
Niki May Young