Plans Unveiled for Newest Capital City in Newest Nation in the World

Before revolutionary uprisings swept through North Africa, the big news in the region was in Sudan: after years of bitter conflict, citizens in the south voted overwhelmingly to split the nation in two, making Southern Sudan the world’s newest state. It was about as definitive as a vote can be — 99% voted in favor of creating the new country.

But, as with Egypt’s ouster of Mubarak, the triumphant moment has given way to the daunting business of creating a new government, a new society. And, in this case, building a brand new capital city from the ground up.

The government ministers of Southern Sudan have decided that its current capital, Juba, isn’t ideally suited to be the center of the new nation — its chaotic, oil-fueled expansion has lead to a sprawling, poorly planned city. Planning and building a new one in an organized, democratic manner would have symbolic implications, as well as practical benefits. The model above shows what the South Sudanese planners have in mind.

Sudan Votes has more:

Southern Sudan … is to build a brand new capital city, replete with modern town planning and expansion possibilities for generations to come, according to a government official. The Government of Southern Sudan (GoSS) Investment Minister, Oyay Deng Ajak, revealed the plans in his capacity as chairman of a committee … The committee has a mandate to consult local communities in the planning for a new seat of government, ahead of the expected secession of Southern Sudan on 9 July 2011. Oyay assured on Monday that GoSS wants a capital city chosen by the people.

“The people of Southern Sudan collectively fought so that we have a capital city that belongs to all of us,” he said.

So what will the world’s newest capital look like? Judging by the design pictured above, it seems to be a pretty traditional, car-based city with a business district and suburban-style residential sections. Should it make more strides towards walkability or more mass transportation? Might Southern Sudan mark its independence with an eye towards building a sustainable city? These are questions the planners and citizens of the new nation will have to address in the promised-to-be democratic planning process.

Regardless, it’s exciting stuff, and we’ll be watching to see how democracy fares in the nascent nation — and how its new capital takes shape.

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Image: Sudan Votes

About Brian Merchant

Brian Merchant is a founding editor of the Utopianist.. When he's not helming the Utopianist, he is TreeHugger's politics writer, contributes the Getting Samy Out of Burma column to, and freelances for the likes of Salon and Paste. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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