Building a new city to the north of Kabul can address the problem of overpopulation after the return of large numbers of political expatriates, as well as project a dynamic image of renewal on the old city center.
The construction of a new city north of Kabul on the 40,000-hectare site at Deh Sabz could accommodate, over time, more than 3 million residents. Years of conflict in Afghanistan have caused significant migrations. It is estimated that 30% of the population has left the country or moved to the country's hinterland.
After the fall of the Taliban in 2002, about 3 million Afghan expatriates have returned to their country. Kabul's population has climbed from 700,000 inhabitants in 1980, its design capacity, to over 4 million in 2007, causing severe overpopulation and an alarming decline in living conditions. Architecture-Studio, winner of the international tender launched by the Afghan government, rallied and led a project team consisting of Franor Conseil, Setec Partenaires Développement, Composante Urbaine, Eaux de Paris and Deerns (Netherlands), in partnership with the Center for Studies on Networks, Transport, Urban Planning and Public Construction (CERTU), the NGO Urbanistes du Monde and Swiss ethnologists. Together, we defined the framework of an urban project based on the core principles of sustainable development, including preservation of natural resources and the supply of drinking water and energy, along with access to education and employment, to outline a comprehensive and coordinated urban proposal. The construction of Kabul New City will also provide Kabul residents with access to healthcare and community structures. We have defined the spatial planning concepts of the various urban uses and densities: housing, activities, public facilities, roads, parks and agricultural areas. The rehabilitation of downtown Kabul is planned to take place in a second phase, facilitated by the construction of the new city. Carried out in a difficult political context, the Greater Kabul project asserts the Afghan government's determination to promote the development of the country and to leverage its geo-strategic position between Pakistan, China and Iran.