Kaid Benfield Archive


Yes, this really is a city shaped like a rhino

Kaid Benfield

Posted September 24, 2010 at 1:50PM

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  plans for a new city outside Juba, Sudan (by: Alan Boswell, Voice of America)

You’re looking at a plan for a city-to-be outside Juba, in southern Sudan.  The new city is being designed in the form of a rhinoceros.

Alan Boswell writes on the Voice of America’s website:

“Southern Sudan’s government revealed this week a multi-billion dollar plan to build new urban centers in all ten of its state capitals.  The price tag may make some gasp, but the real surprise?  The cities would be animal and fruit-shaped.

“The $10.1 billion plan proposes remaking cities in Sudan’s south into shapes found on regional flags.  Blueprints and maps illustrate Juba in the shape of a rhinoceros, Yambio fashioned after a pineapple and Wau as a giraffe.

“The Undersecretary for Housing and Physical Planning, Daniel Wani, says he hopes the plans will demonstrate the housing ministry’s desire to think creatively about how to remake southern Sudan for the future.

“’This is very innovative. That is our thinking. It is unique,’ says Wani.  ‘It is from the Ministry of Housing thinking innovation; that we have to be different, so that people can see what we are trying to tell them.'”

  Juba, Sudan (by: Tim McKulka, United Nations Photo, noncommercial license)  model of planned new architecture in Juba (by: BBC World Service, noncommercial license)

Juba today, above left, is impoverished and struggling to recover from war.  The government hopes to find private financing to build a modern city, above right.  Boswell reports that Southern Sudan’s total annual budget this year is less than $2 billion.

Enlarge the photo of the rhino-shaped plan and you can see that the “heart” would include ambassadors’ and ministers’ residences; the belly includes a cathedral; just in front of the hind legs is subsidized housing; the rhino’s spine would be designated for commercial and industrial uses; and so on.  It’s even harder to imagine how this might work in the shape of a giraffe but, heck, I wouldn’t have thought of man-made islands shaped like palm trees near Dubai, or floating ice hotels and indoor ski slopes in the desert, either.

Move your cursor over the images for credit information.