Scores of new cities are rising across the world from previously untouched desert and jungle, or on land reclaimed from the sea. While the history of cities built from scratch is long, the scale of the current epidemic is beyond anything seen before.
Another 2.5 billion people are predicted to move to cities over the next 30 years and the trend shows no signs of stopping. New research has identified more than 100 examples, nearly all in Asia and Africa.
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This week Guardian Cities meets the 90-year-olds who built the Bulgarian city of Dimitrovgrad after the second world war (many still live there) and visits the bizarre Bahria Town development promising Karachi residents protection from terror attacks and violent crime. We look at Hong Kongs plan to build artificial islands for 1.1 million people and examine Egypts dream to conquer the Sahara. We remember past visions of future cities and ask, is there ever a good reason to start a city from scratch?
Nick Van Mead