by Ahmed Shafiq, Abdel-Maguid Kamal
CAIRO, Nov. 13 (Xinhua) -- Urban planning experts believe that the construction of 20 new cities of the fourth generation will help improve life quality, increase residential area and absorb population surge in the most populous Arab country.
Egypt's New Urban Communities Authority of the Ministry of Housing is currently building 20 fourth-generation cities on a total area of 243,600 hectares, expected to accommodate about 30 million people in addition to providing millions of jobs.
These new cities are located in the provinces of Cairo, Giza, Qalyubia, Matrouh, Daqahliya, Beheira, Port Said, North Sinai, Beni Suef, Minya, Assiut, Qena, Luxor and Aswan, while the largest such city is the New Administrative Capital, east of the capital Cairo.
The fourth generation cities are integrated cities in terms of availability of services and the use of advanced technologies in infrastructure and facilities.
Experts believe these cities will provide a better life to Egyptians, meet rapid population growth, and offer housing facilities and job opportunities.
"Egypt certainly needs to build these cities, using the latest technologies," as only seven percent of Egypt's territory is currently occupied, Saif al-Ddin Farag, a Cairo-based planning expert, told Xinhua.
The establishment of 20 fourth-generation cities "is a good start," Farag noted.
The New Urban Communities Authority aims to increase the urban area in Egypt from seven percent to 14 percent by 2050.
Egyptian Prime Minister Mostapha Madbouly announced earlier that Egypt has no choice but to double the urban area to accommodate a large and growing population.
Egypt currently has a population of more than 100 million, making it the 13th most populous country in the world, according to the Central Agency for Public Mobilization and Statistics.
"Egypt suffers from high population density, especially in provinces such as Cairo, Alexandria and Giza ... The establishment of new cities according to economic rules will attract and redistribute people across the country," Farag said.
Building new cities will also encourage investment, boost economy, provide jobs, and improve the life quality because the high population density causes pollution and congestion, he added.
Mohamed Abdel Baqi, a professor of Urban Planning at Ain Shams University, echoed Farag's arguments, saying the decision to build 20 new cities of the fourth generation is "very good."
"The construction of these cities will lead to an increase in the urban area of Egypt and thus absorb part of the population increase, which exceeds the rates of the state's projects," he told Xinhua.
"This will attract large numbers of population to live and invest in these cities," Baqi explained.
The Egyptian professor also said ideas of construction that cannot be applied in existing cities could be experimented with these new cities, such as the maximum use of solar energy.