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The Democratic Republic of the Congo, not to be outdone, has la Cité du Fleuve, emerging, like a “water lily”, on reclaimed land in the middle of the Congo River near the capital, Kinshasa.
The mansion designs on offer include “palace-style Arabe” and “Mediterranean villa”.
More than 500,000 new unemployed young people join the labour force every year; 90 per cent of the unemployed have no skills or formal training beyond primary education. For a woman such as Mama Felix, the owner of the Pink Lady hairdressing salon in the slum of Mathare, there’s a central answer – because that’s where the hope is.
As Henk- Jan Brinkman and Cullen S Hendrix wrote in a report for the World Food Programme: “Food insecurity, especially when caused by higher food prices, heightens the risk of democratic breakdown, civil conflict, protest, rioting and communal conflict.” If the predictions of climate-change-driven drought and impacts on crop prices across eastern and central Africa hold true, the new smart city is facing a complex external environment, with several specific threats to the boundary wall: more people with more mouths to feed, facing higher food prices, with fewer jobs to help them afford it.
As a point of reference, it was in the Lower Shabelle area of Somalia – where drought struck and brought child mortality of 10 per cent – that the Islamist terrorist group al- Shabaab gained control.
Elsewhere, there’s Masdar in the United Arab Emirates, Norman Foster’s eco-oasis in the desert, coming in with an estimated bn price tag for 40,000 inhabitants.
In South Korea, Songdo is already open for business.