New Towns

Sverdlovsk-45, Russia

Sverdlovsk-45 is one of the USSR’s closed towns build in 1948 for the purpose of top-secret scientific research. Unlike most of the post-soviet spaces, the plan of the city is extremely simple half-circle, as it had to be rapidly erected by Stalin’s orders: to build a city around a uranium-enrichment facility that can be easily and quickly navigated by the researchers. As all the research was super confidential, extreme surveillance was easier to maintain in a town with a basic structure of wide radial roads leading to one open point – the public embarkment. Moreover, the town is completely surrounded by vast forests and a river, limiting access to unsupervised exit and entry.

Coober Pedy

Coober Pedy is a small, isolated, desert community in South Australia that was established in 1916 after the gemstone opal was found in surrounding mines. An “opal rush” caused foreigners and native Australian’s alike to flock to this area in order to seek riches. However, the area prior to 1916 was inhabited solely by aboriginal populations, due to the intense heat and sun exposure in the region. In order to cope with the harsh climate, the migrating miners decided to build their homes and institutions in the one place where they could find shade: underground. The entire town has roughly 2500 inhabitants and much of their infrastructure, outside of the main roads that connect them with the outside world, is underground. There is a myriad of tunnels that connect churches, townhouses, stores, tourist attractions, restaurants, and other amenities. The personality of the inhabitants is very neighborly due to the close proximity and the intense work that it takes to settle in Coober Pedy. Teamwork has allowed the people in this community to thrive in a very inhospitable place. Furthermore, the dynamic of the town allows the dwellers to find tight-knit community relations.


The community of Pinawa was first developed to support the construction/operation of a hydroelectric generating plant. It ran until 1951, and the original site is now a heritage park. Present day, the community is located south of the original site, but was still created for the purpose of a research facility, i.e., for the purpose of some company. For most of it’s lifetime, the community was solely based on its ability to support whatever project was providing employment opportunities and even housing.

Eureka Springs, Arkansas

Eureka Springs, Arkansas was incorporated as a city in 1880 after it gained
widespread public appeal from its hot springs that were rumored to have magical healing properties. The springs acted as both an economic and physical focal point for the city. Settlements concentrated around the number of hot springs in the area and the structures
(primarily shanties and tents) were built for immediate occupancy and valued by their accessibility to the springs. Eureka Springs serves as an intriguing example of how cities can experience rapid economic growth and popularity through a public attraction–
and how that attraction can also have an influence on the physical environment and layout of the city.

Songdo, South Korea

Songdo, South Korea, a high tech business district, is an example of an aerotropolis because it is connected to Incheon International Airport by a bridge, as well as one of the world’s smartest cities with its thought out construction and technology. Arranged in a grid form, it was built with the goal to be sustainable, eliminating pollution by mitigating the effects of garbage disposal and car transmissions. The biggest flaw of Songdo is being severely underpopulated, which is a result of only a few large companies and universities choosing to open offices, leaving many empty apartments and businesses.

Cyberjaya, Malaysia

Cyberjaya, Malaysia is a planned city home to multiple universities and hi-tech corporations. Pitched to the government as a Malaysian Silicon Valley, Cyberjaya is the centerpiece of MSC Malaysia, a special economic zone meant to catalyze Malaysia’s transformation into a “new knowledge economy.” It is an example of a new city designed to fulfill an specific economic and social purpose, and its design reflects that purpose, with housing developments like Neo Cyber and Taman Pinggiran Cyber on the periphery of Multimedia University and Cyberjaya’s two business districts.

Image Source: Google Earth

New Town, Kolkata, India

New Town, India, was developed in the 1990s by the state government of West Bengal to cater to the rising middle class population and to develop a brand new technology hub. While the city has been hailed as a ‘Solar City’ due to its planned sustainable, and high-tech infrastructure, it has also garnered criticisms due to the displacement of farmers, street vendors and laborers from its fertile lands. The city demonstrates a tension between India’s working class and white collar workers as they share space, and the government’s vision and the reality when developing new cities in India.

Quebec City

Quebec City is the capital of the Quebec province in Canada. Settled by the French in 1608, it is the only North American city still with fortified walls north of Mexico. It shows an example of the Greek Grid – with its grid adapting to the hilly geography of the coast and peninsula. The city is built with the example of a French “ville” as opposed to a more centralized new city, and was originally divided into an upper city made for the elite and lower city for merchants and artisans.

Twin Falls, Idaho

Twin Falls, Idaho is a coastal city in the Magic Valley region in south-central Idaho. Incorporated in 1905, it is the regional commercial center for south-central Idaho and northeastern Nevada. Its origins lie in the Twin Falls Land and Water Company, which was created to build an irrigation canal system for the area. Although planning was sparked by the company, the town was a comprehensively planned community, designed by celebrated architect Emmanual Louis Masqueray after previously failed drawings.  The original townsite follows northeast-to-southwest and northwest-to-southeast roads, unique design, as a way to allow the sun to come into every room in the home at some point during the day.

However, it’s initial layout and design continued to evolve after Masqueray’s planning – the later expansion of the town ignored Masqueray’s careful planning, forgoing his unique designs for north-south and east-west streets. This juxtaposition emphasizes the original layout’s unique and valuable qualities with the cardinal design implemented by later town planners.

Kyoto, Japan

Kyoto, Japan was built in 794 as the new capital of Japan. The city’s famous grid layout is reflective of the Emperor’s desire to centralize power – the Emperor’s palace, from which most major roads originated, functioned as the political and social heart of the city, and governmental institutions were clustered around the palace district. In modern times, the city’s center has shifted away from the palace, and the large, rigid grid is broken up into smaller alley roads. However, the historical city center still maintains the original grid and continues to be the heart of traditional culture in Kyoto.

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